I wasn't expecting much from this, just hoping that it would be engaging enough to keep me from resorting to the "zany" morning DJs on corporate FM radio. By the halfway point the ridiculous romance between the mercenary main characters, the ponderous dialogue, and the grating narrator almost made me switch over to 105.9 to suffer through Howie and Jennifer yapping about Britney, Atkins diets and other pop culture drivel.
Hillhouse's heroine, the daughter of some bad-ass Marine, is a paramilitary dynamo who, by the age of 30 has had a exemplary career in the CIA then gone on to create a wildly successful multi-million dollar private military company. Paradoxically she handles her personal relationships like a fickle junior high kid - one minute planning to kill the object of her affection and the next pining for the love they shared over extreme paint-ball duels.
The supporting cast are all cheap knock-offs of the usual "pros" that appear in these kind of books - all crack "operators" supremely physically fit, able to handle all forms of exotic weapons, fly helicopters at convenient moments, etc. Oh yeah, and every one of them wears Royal Robbins 511s and this is so important that we must be told dozens of times.
In between each chapter excerpts from news articles imply that over reliance on private military companies is rampant and dangerous. I made it from the halfway point of the book almost to the end (stopped listening during the dramatic final "op") thinking that maybe there was actually some cleverness here. Could it be Hillhouse intended to be critical of contractors in Iraq by telling us a story deliberately full of inane embarrassing characters gallivanting around Iraq armed to the teeth, killing suspected "tangos" with impunity, racking up huge expenses on the tax-payer dime all the while playing out a Danielle Steele romance? Nah, turns out its just not very good.
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