Author: Anne Stuart
Series: Ice #4
Release Date: November 1st, 2007
Behind her mask is a deadly secret. The powerful head of the covert mercenary organization The Committee, Isobel Lambert is a sleek, sophisticated professional who comes into contact with some of the most dangerous people in the world. But beneath Isobel's cool exterior a ghost exists, haunting her with memories of another life, a life that ended long ago.
But Isobel's past and present are about to collide when Serafin, mercenary, assassin and the most dangerous man in the world, makes a deal with The Committee. Seventeen years ago Isobel shot him and left him for dead. Now it looks as if he's tracked her down for revenge. But Isobel knows all too well that looks can be deceiving, and that's what she's counting on to keep her cover in this international masquerade of murder.
I was so excited when I found this book because it seemed that for the first time (for me) we would have a kickass female who works for an agency while the guy would be someone who DIDN'T work for an agency.
I was right to be excited because this book had the female lead I'd been looking for in thrillers. She was strong yet vulnerable in the right ways. She didn't enjoy killing people (even the bad ones) but she was't going to sit around and whine about it, somethings just had to be done. Plus she was an 'ice queen'. I am sure most of us have read at least one book with an ice queen right? Yeah well so have I and it didn't work out so well. The character had come off as more like a wannabe 'ice queen' then anything else. In this case however, the author did it just right. No one can really be that emotionless and of course, neither was Isobel but what I loved most about her was that she didn't break down easily. As soon as the love interest (who I absolutely have to talk about... and not because he was swoony) came in, she didn't melt into a puddle of mush. She was always tough throughout the book and even in the end you don't see her lose that. You do see her slowly developing defects in her armor. They don't come all at once and some of them are there before the book begins but it's a slow journey, one that doesn't end up Isobel becoming a flowery girl (thank god for the small favors) but instead an even better character. One that you're proud of.
Isobel felt so real to me. She had been betrayed once and that changed her. She became very closed off but she never seemed bitter. Instead she took that experience and tried to learn from it and made changes that would make her feel more safe. I can see how what happened made her choose the profession she did. It made sense.
Moving on to Killian. To put it quite bluntly, he was an asshole, at least in the beginning, but he was an asshole who was done right. Not one of those annoying characters that just bug you. He was such a determined person and I enjoyed it. I loved how he didn't just fall head over heels for a girl and that was it. He did what he had to and without regret. I was actually pretty surprised when we were introduced to his character, I knew he was supposed to be the love interest but I couldn't imagine how he could fall in love with anybody. I hoped that it would be a gradual change but I really wanted to know how the author would turn the tables on his situation. The author did not disappoint me. She put it so well that I found myself clapping my hands like a retarded seal (no offense to seals.. I love you guys) when the pieces of the puzzle started coming together.
Their relationship was interesting as well. I had a great time watching it slowly develop. With all the mixed feelings Isobel had about loving and wanting to kill(she would do it too.. which is why I love her) Killian and with Killian who never seemed to be able to admit the truth to himself until Isobel laid it out for him.
The plot, no matter what I make it sound like, isn't full of Isobel and Killian's romance. There are some flash backs from the past in the beginning that give us an idea about what happened. But as the book moves on there is so much more going on. This book seemed like a giant puzzle, Stuart gave us pieces one by one and even gives us chances to look at the big picture but you still get surprised by some of the things, and then realize that it was obvious.
I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a light enjoyable thriller with great characters and not an overload of romance.