Marissa isn’t who she used to be… literally. Two years ago she was Lauren, accountant to one of the wealthiest (and dirtiest) businessmen in London. Recruited by the CIA from the world of high finance to bring Stefan Maes down, she did her job almost too well - and yet not quite well enough. Maes lost most of his billions, but didn’t go to prison, and now Lauren is top of his hit list. Changing her identity and hiding out under the protection of Vigilance, she’s sent into hiding on a tropical island with Justin, a Vigilance agent with whom she’s been doing a bit of a romantic tap-dance for a little while.
This is apparently the third in the Vigilance series, and it stands perfectly well alone. Characters from the previous two books appear only briefly, and are certainly not integral to the story.
I liked the way it was made clear Marissa and Justin had spent quite some time getting to know each other as friends, and that though Justin had made it clear he was interested, he then stepped back and waited, for as long as it took, for Marissa to make the next move. That showed genuine consideration and gentlemanly behaviour.
Other than that, unfortunately, Justin came across as pretty cookie-cutter for the hero in this sort of romantic suspense. The usual he-man type who balks at letting a perfectly competent woman actually do her job, in other words. Though I liked his and Marissa’s romance and the progression of it, when it came down to the dramatic finale he regressed back to a chest-beater and managed to irritate me intensely in the process. Which was a real shame, because up to that point I’d really enjoyed the book. Marissa’s fear for her safety and future was eloquently expressed in a lot of small ways and felt very real and immediate, and the slow, careful lowering of her defences as she came to trust Justin was well done.
However, because I didn’t like Justin’s failure to remain respectful of Marissa’s capability and right to make her own choices at a critical juncture, I’ve got to knock this down to four stars.
A Deadly Business is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.