A story with action, intrigue and romance in equal parts
Michelle Larkin is one of the most underrated writers in lesfic. Maybe because she doesn’t write traditional romance and she doesn’t stick to a single genre either, her books go under the radar for many people. Personally, since I’ve read Sylver and Gold, I’m happy to go against the popular choice.
Rogue CIA Agent Zoey Blackwood has a clear mission: try to save the lives of foreigners considered expendable by greedy US politicians in the wake of a deadly virus. CIA Agent Peyton North’s orders are clear: capture Zoey and bring her back to the US. But as a sizzling attraction between them develops, Peyton’s loyalties are tested.
This is an action-packed, opposites-attract, romantic intrigue novel. It’s not strictly enemies to lovers, but there is an antagonism between the mains which perfectly lays the groundwork for witty banter and smart dialogues. Humour is extremely important in this book, not the slapstick kind but the more refined, sarcastic and intelligent variety. Humor plays a big role for Zoey as it’s her way to cope with all the curveballs that life threw at her. It also depicts the rest of the characters really well in how they react toward Zoey’s irreverent sense of humor. Most especially Peyton as she is normally on the receiving end of Zoey snarky remarks:
“I’m gay,” Zoey blurted.
Peyton narrowed her eyes. “That’s not listed anywhere in your file.”
“Well, I am. Happy to prove it to you.” She raised an eyebrow, giving Peyton a once-over. “If you’re game.”
As I said before, Ms. Larkin has written in different genres: crime, paranormal, urban fantasy, and here in Secret Agent, intrigue. However, there’s always an undercurrent of romance in her books – at least in the ones I’ve read – which reminds me of Gerri Hill’s mysteries in the strength of the chemistry and its importance in the plot. Romance plays an essential role in Ms. Larkin’s stories and the chemistry between the mains is sizzling hot.
Kudos to Ms. Larkin for writing about a deadly virus and the politicians’ dirty ways of handling the crisis in the aftermath of a global pandemic that did exactly that. You have to praise the author for having the courage to tackle that issue and make it similar enough so that readers can relate and sufficiently different so that it doesn’t give you anxiety. Not many authors can pull that, especially since many of them suffered from writer’s block during the pandemic.
I’ve listened to the audiobook version narrated by Keira Grace who also narrated Sylver and Gold (which I highly recommend). The narrator did a very good job with the different characters’ voices and delivering witty remarks and snarky dialogues. If you are looking for a story with action, intrigue, and romance in equal parts, don’t miss this. 5 stars.
Length: 8 hours, 49 minutes