The operatives in The Smithson Group are “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” This also means that they are irresistible to readers who like alpha heroes who walk the edge. Author Alison Kent has created a memorable series for these characters, and each book adds layers to the organization as a whole. That being said, I had a few unexpected moments with the latest installment, The Perfect Stranger.
For me, the novel was a dichotomy. It offered up J. Jackson Briggs, chopper pilot extraordinaire, as the subject, which was a much anticipated event. Sprinkled through the series in cameo appearances, readers have been speculating on what makes him tick. He is definitely no stranger to danger and his steady nerves have gotten quite a few people out of harm’s way. Now he is the one in danger. Who will rescue him?
While I was motivated to read Jackson’s story, the other main characters started off less sympathetically, and I had a difficult time warming to their cause. Even desperate measures can be rational, and Jillian Endicott crosses the line when she abducts and tricks Jackson repeatedly. I completely identified with his urge to strangle her.
Ms. Kent does not disappoint with the action or adventure in her novels, and this one is no exception. Jackson and Jillian are in a race against time, and the innocent will suffer if they are stopped. By the time I finished the novel, I understood Jillian’s motivation but her characterization did diminish my enjoyment of the book.