Into the Mist by Maya Banks, copyright Feb 2008, published by Samhain LTD. I love action stories that are smartly written no matter the label. Meaning that there’s a good story with solidly written characters that don’t come across as being stupid with a story arc that disallows the plot to be bogged down with gratuitous sex in inopportune moments. However, this story falls a bit short of that criteria for me and I’ll explain why in a bit.
The plot of Ms. Banks novel centers on human experimentation gone wrong. An American hostage recovery team is sent on assignment to extract two prisoners overseas and find themselves ambushed and exposed to a chemical agent that transforms humans into “shape shifters.” The only one out of the group of men who isn’t adversely affected is Eli Chance. He was pretty much borne with the defect that now plagues his men. It’s a secret that he’s kept hidden from his team. Not only do the men have the ability to shift but their shifting is uncontrollable unlike Chance who shifts at will.
This ambush proves problematic for the leader of the group, Damiano Ruiz, who was left for dead by Chance and his team. Ruiz is a member of the Falcon Mercenary Group, a security detail that Chance and his military team hired to lead them on the mission. FMG finds Ruiz still alive and brings him back to their isolated estate and there he recuperates. A doctor has created and injected Ruiz with serum that his body becomes immune to because there is no apparent antidote for his shifting involuntarily. Therefore he’s unstable and poses a danger to the group and to his humanity. The FMG group maps out a plan to seek out Eli Chance to see what he knows and what contacts he has to help Ruiz. Tyana Berezovsky is Damiano’s sister and assigned team leader of this fact finding mission. Tyana is highly trained in combat and she’s determined to find a cure for her brother and sets off to find Eli Chance.
Locate him she does in a bar in Singapore. Her plan to seduce him falls awry. She starts her game of seduction with him but he finishes it. They begin their game of cat and mouse all over the globe. Meanwhile, a third party enters into the game claiming knowledge of a cure but at a price. After failing to obtain intel on Chance and his men the first time around, Tyana chooses to strike out on her own to find Chance and his men in hopes of finding a cure. Tyana catches up with him at his home and she learns the truth about Chance and his men. An antidote for her brother is not to be had. So, Tyana along with Chance and his men figure that the only way to cure her brother and his men is to track down the man who created the chemical agent that altered their DNA. However, a trap is set and Tyana is left looking like the betrayer.
The story had an interesting premise but the execution of the plot read uneven for me. The beginning was great. It’s the middle parts that drove me crazy. First, I found Tyana’s actions quite annoying. You see she is sent to find out what she could do to help her brother but instead she let’s her hormones take over not once but twice. The next problem I had was that Eli and Tyana kept missing opportunities to communicate with each other! That really annoyed me. However, as the plot moved along and Tyana finally tells Chance and she learns the truth about his team, things started to look up again.
Next problem I had with Tyana was her personality. She comes off as being too feisty. I’m all for strong women but why must her being “strong” always equate with her being physically strong? She is the type of woman who shoots first and asks questions later. I felt her character at times was a little too hard. Her living on the streets in Prague has made her tough and not very trusting. Fighting in dark alleys and getting shot at is just another day on the job for her. She did have a broken childhood as did Chance and it’s one of the things that they have in common. His parents pretty much disowned him when they learned of his gift or curse. And one word to describe the villain: one dimensional whose motive is speculated upon but never fully explained. Maybe that will be explained further in the next book?
I enjoyed the ending and despite the fact that I found Tyana’s character a little rough around the edges; I loved her no nonsense attitude when she saves her man. This story is about family and loyalty. There’s the loyalty to her brother, Damiano, who stood by her and protected her in the orphanage and on the streets of Prague. Then there’s loyalty to the FMG group who are comprised of the two men who adopted Tyana and Damiano and made them all a solid family: Jonah and Maddox aka Mad Dog. None of them are blood related but together they make up a tight knit family who comprise the FMG group. Then there’s the loyalty to her lover, Chance, and their romance was pretty hot. From the blurb I read, this is the start of a new series and from looking at the bestseller list, Into the Mist is sitting right on top of it. I haven’t decided if I’ll read the next book in the series yet but this was a good read overall. I am not a big fan of endearments and could have did without the hero calling the heroine “sugar” every other sentence in his conversations with her. Anyway, all nitpicking aside, my grade, B-
[tags]Samhain, Maya Banks, Adventure, Shape Shifting, Paranormal Suspense[/tags]