Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Miles to Go by Amy Dawson Robertson

"Soldiers who are not afraid of guns, bombs, capture, torture or death say they are afraid of homosexuals. Clearly we should not be used as soldiers; we should be used as weapons."~Letter to the editor, The Advocate

One of the pleasanter finds while scouring the universe for the good read, is a newly published novel by “newcomer” Amy Dawson Robertson called Miles to Go (Bella Books, 2010)

It is labeled as a "Rennie Vogel Intrigue", which indicates that there are more works to follow, and which will focus on this wonderfully drawn title character. Women readers will love this character, and justly so.

Rennie Vogel is a tough woman who is loyal to her country, and to that end, has spent years honing her skills as an FBI counter terrorism operative. She is ambitious, but knows all to well that the government is reluctant to include women because of their inherent inability to perform as men do. Ready for a fight? The training for this field of endeavor is rigorous, and we soon discover that Rennie is in top form, often outperforming all others.

As the book opens, we find that Rennie is being considered for a newly formed Counterterrorism Tactical Team, CT3, and because the agency is required to include women, she is competing with other women for two available positions She clearly stands out above the rest, and is a likely candidate, however, in all likelihood she would be selected as alternate. This does happen, but there is surprise awaiting her. The team leader feels that the best woman should run a race with the man who scores lowest on the team. This delights Rennie and clearly pisses the one man chosen to compete. In a wonderfully exciting chapter, you’ll find yourself rooting for her, as she musters all the energy of Wonder Woman to cross the finish line first.
Even though she has proved herself over and over again, she is made to feel that if anything goes awry during a mission, she will be held responsible. And, although she feels confident, this “curse” is always in the back of her mind.This idea haunts her, but becomes her impetuous to succeed at all costs.

Although this is truly Rennie’s story throughout, Robertson introduces other fascinating characters by telling their story in parallel time. This works well, as it not only builds the excitement level, but tickles our imagination as to what we think will eventually happen.

Rennie and her team are deployed on a mission to wipe out an Iranian radical named Ahmad Armin. He is a former nuclear physicist who was convinced to defect by the CIA, but as a result of the agencies' involvement at the time of Mossadegh, he embraces a nationalist ideology that leads him to the thought of eliminating all US involvement in the area, and the world. He also makes headlines with the kidnapping of an American journalist, as well as the assassination of this brother. He is clearly the enemy.

Early on in the mission, Rennie's whole company is wiped out by a surprise sniper attack, and the woman who was deemed their albatross has to carry out the mission solo. Because of her particular skills, as well as her determination and quick mind, she accomplishes the impossible. While doing this, she discovers the kidnapped American, and decides to include her rescue in her mission.

Now, one of the things we learn about Rennie is that she is has had to suppress her private life in such a way as to only have furtive and unsatisfying encounters with other women. She is a loner, carries a lot of familial baggage, and has replaced her loneliness with her job. This is about to change quite unexpectedly. The woman she rescues possesses something that Rennie is drawn to.  The journalist Hannah is drawn to Rennie in a quite unexpected way as well.

One of the impressive things about this book is the author’s ability to convey sexual attraction and desire without unnecessarily interrupting the exciting story line. And exciting it is. This is a thriller, and although we soon expect that all will turn out in Rennie’s favor, the challenge of keeping us in suspense is met with success.

Will Rennie and Hannah have a future? Will Rennie’s career be affected by her unorthodox behaviors? Alas, this is where you need to step in and pick up Miles to Go to find out.You will be very pleased you did, and will want to follow Rennie as her life unfolds in future novels.  Amy Dawson Robertson has created not only a winning heroine, someone who we will come to love and respect, but a terrifically exciting read as well. Enjoy!

Next time I will be review Christopher Rices’s newest work, The Moonlit Earth, so stay tuned.

Stop by the website and listen to my first BlogTalkRadio show with James Magruder, author of Sugarless. I am hoping to be able to do the same with Amy.

Until next time, happy reading..
Robert Jaquay.

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