Last Kiss Goodnight by Gena Showalter
Otherworld Assassins #1
|Pocket Books, January 2013|
This is the latest from PNR powerhouse Gena Showalter. Last Kiss Goodnight launches her new series, the Otherworld Assassins. This series is related to her Alien Huntress books, as it takes place in the same world and mentions a few of our favorites from those books. The storyline stands on its own, however, and you can read this without having read the other series. Of course, I think you would enjoy this book more if you have read the Alien Huntress books first, but that's just a personal recommendation. Or, if you've read LKG already and kept wondering Who is this Dallas Person? Well, that's where you want to go.
THE SWEETEST TEMPTATION…
Black ops agent Solomon Judah awakens caged and bound in a twisted zoo where otherworlders are the main attraction. Vika Lukas, the owner’s daughter, is tasked with Solo’s care and feeding. The monster inside him yearns to kill her on sight, even though she holds the key to his escape. But the human side of him realizes the beautiful deaf girl is more than she seems—she’s his.
THE ULTIMATE PRICE…
Vika endures the captives’ taunts and loathing, hoping to keep them alive even if she can’t free them. Only, Solo is different—he protects her. But as hostility turns to forbidden romance, his feelings for her will be used against him…and he’ll be put to a killer test.
I always enjoy Showalter's books, so my thoughts on this one aren't much of a mystery. I liked it quite a bit, and I'm excited by the prospect of a new series from one of my favorite authors. And this book has all the qualities that I've come to expect from Showalter. The characters are strong and sexy, the plot never slows down, and the writing is lively with just enough humor, violence, and romance to keep readers entertained.
Last Kiss Goodnight presents a change in tone from Showalter's previous books. For one, it's less sexed up than one might expect from her. Which makes sense, given the circumstances of the characters for much of the book. Suffice to say, sexy time wouldn't be practical or realistic when half of your duo is locked up in a very public cage. Still, lack of practicality doesn't always stop some writers, as I'm sure many of you have noticed. It's nice to have a little realism. Also, this more demure approach offers more time with the characters' thoughts and emotions, getting to know them without the distraction of heaving bosoms and throbbing members. Not that those aren't fun. In fact, I rather prefer my books on the steamy side, and I've always enjoyed Gena Showalter's brand of steam. Meaning, if the softer, rosier vibe is going to be the new standard, I'm not quite sure how I'll feel about that.
Some readers suggest this book is more somber than other books by Showalter. I agree to a point, but I've always found a grim, weighty thread in all of Showalter's books. Usually it's balanced by a lot of snarky hijinks, but not always. I think it would be a disservice to fixate on the Lords of the Underworld series (a remarkably rambunctious series) as the model of Showalter's writing.
Speaking of characters -- I've always felt that one of Showalter's strong suits is her ability to create likable, intriguing characters. Let's take Solomon Judah, for example. An elite black ops agent and a muscle-bound alien lifeform to boot! That right there is a lot of fun, but toss in some all-too-human vulnerabilities and lethal temper, and you've got one hell of a story.
Now, as likable as Solo is, I find Vika to be even more interesting. Mind you, Solo is a good protagonist. But he's somewhat predictable. Vika, on the other hand, has some intrigue. There is an uncertainty to her actions that pushes the story along. Often her choices are the exact opposite of what an omniscient, overly-opinionated reader (that would be me) tells her to do, and that only makes thing more interesting. Yes, to some degree she's too good to be true -- beautiful and wounded yet unerringly kind -- but Showalter handles that nicely by exploring her motivations and psyche.
And, bonus! There's a Targon in the mix. I'm a shameless fan of Devyn, King of the Targons, and was tickled to see more of this irreverent race. Hmm... I'm feeling the urge to read Seduce the Darkness for the billionith time.
Overall, this is a good intro to another fun, new series. I'd say I can't wait for the next one, but the forces that be don't exactly leave me a choice in that ( I've seen one projected publication date as November 2013). Happily, Gena Showalter has several other lovelies out there that still require my attention.