Book Review: London Calling by Veronica Forand
Billed as a romantic suspense, this one is heavy on the suspense and light on the romance. The heroine, Emma, is an American police SWAT officer whose tidy world is upended when she’s called to the UK because her father has gone missing while working for his Big Oil boss. Only it turns out he’s been an MI6 agent all along and now the Russians have him. MI6 must hide Emma to prevent her being used against her father, and that’s where Liam Macknight comes in. Macknight was right there when the bomb went off, his teammate died, and Edward Ross vanished. His suspicious nature leads to him trusting literally nobody, and he always jumps to the worst possible conclusion with information at hand - possibly a useful survival trait for an active operative, but hardly conducive to good romance fodder.
In some ways Emma was fantastic, in that she flatly refused to take things lying down, but her transformation from regular cop to a superwoman who beats trained snipers at shooting, espionage agents at chess and solo escapes from MI6 custody. There were parts where it felt very much like the author was taking a dig at other authors in the genre, where Emma thinks to herself “Only in a fantasy would a woman crave sex with her captor while imprisoned in a basement. Nothing was romantic about a relationship with a screwed-up power dynamic.”
There’s a great deal of truth to that, at least in real life, but knocking other people’s fantasies is tacky at best - and hypocritical besides, because Emma absolutely does start falling for Macknight in this screwed-up power dynamic. Or at least, claims she does, because I couldn’t remotely see why, or sense any chemistry between the two of them.
British spies talking with American accents and terminology is just one of the many, many things that annoyed me about this book. For a story which claims to be a romantic suspense, there’s precious little romance and far too many pointed digs at the genre - a huge mistake when there are bound to be lots of fans OF that genre reading this book. This had loads of potential with an intriguing premise, but the author fell into a lot of pitfalls along the way and I finished the book feeling thoroughly dissatisfied. One star.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.