Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tara Janzen -- Crazy Love

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ .   {4.85}
Action: ♠♠♠♠♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣♣. / Romance: ♥♥♥♥ / Sensuous: ♦♦♦♦ / Suspense: ♠♠♠♠.
Action: 5 / Emotion: 4.75 / Romance: 4 / Sensuous: 4 / Suspense: 4.5 // Laughter: 12 / Tears: 0

Finally, Dylan Hart's book.   The brains behind the Steele Street boys.   The most cool, emotionally unavailable man in the Special Defense Force.   The man who has been behind the scenes, helping to save his chop-shop buddies since they were introduced in Book One, Crazy Hot, of The Steele Street Series.   Skeeter was not the only female fascinated by Dylan.   Each time he appeared in a 'Crazy' book, I just wanted to know more about him.

Dylan is the only Steele Street boy who is not allowed to walk away from SDF.   He has two options: [1] succeed at every mission he is given or [2] federal prison.   Why?   When he was a green kid, he was set up in a dicey operation in Moscow to expose his benefactor, White Rook.   The CIA still does not know who White Rook is.   Neither does Dylan (even though Dylan saw him at the end of Crazy Love).

Dylan's mission (in this fifth book of the series) is to steal some very career-damaging, top-secret papers (the Godwin file) from a vault in Senator Whitfield's mansion.   One has to then wonder: if the government can cover up the not-supposed-to-have-happened details of some high-ranking officials, why can't the same governmental agencies hide Dylan's operation-gone-bad.   Naturally, one must assume that the government wants to have something to hold over this head.

Another unanswered question.   Dylan's childhood angst was not truly exposed.   Yes, he hates his mom.   But just because she married another man one month after the death of his beloved father is not reason enough for a fifteen-year-old to run away from home.   There were no other details to tell readers why Dylan would rather make a living running a chop-shop (as explained in Book Three, Crazy Wild) than live with his mother.   Readers with no imagination (like me) need to have these things spelled out for them.

Not only was Dylan's past left in the shadows, but so was Skeeter's.   What happened the night Skeeter's drunk, drugged-out father hit her across the face with a whiskey bottle?   Anyone reading the previous books of the series has been made aware of Skeeter's scar across her forehead.   And how that scar came to be.   But Janzen never told the whole story of the night Skeeter got the scar.   Expected to hear that story in her book.

Skeeter and Dylan's fascination with each other was exposed in Book Three, Crazy Wild.   The attraction has not gone away, but Skeeter is frustrated because Dylan has been so determined to make sure nothing happens between them that he hardly ever returns home to 738 Steele Street.   Janzen does a great job with the sensual and romantic attraction between Dylan and Skeeter.   It just seems to ooze off each page.   They cannot seem to keep their eyes or thoughts off the other.   When they finally do make love (in a car, no less) the heat and connection was heart-poundingly potent.

Dylan has spent so much time away from Steele Street that he does not know that Hawkins has been taking Skeeter on missions.   His protective instincts rise to the fore when he hears that Skeeter received a minor wound during her last operation.   He does not care that Skeeter handled herself with incredible fortitude during the mission or that she out-gunned Kid, he is just furious because she put herself in the line of fire.

To further complicate matters, Dylan has just returned from another successful, but disaster-ridden operation that took place in Jakarta.   Dylan has either suddenly become sloppy or someone is setting him up for failure.   It doesn't take Skeeter's clairvoyance to determine that the latter is true.   Ex-CIA Agent, Tony Royce, who expressed his displeasure towards Dylan in Book Three, Crazy Wild, loses his job because the SDF boys out-maneuvered him in that book.   In retaliation, Royce joins forces with Indonesian warlord, Hamzah Negara, who held Dylan captive on his island, Sumba, before he managed to escape.

Skeeter and Hawkins recognize that something horrific happened to Dylan when he was in Jakarta; that he is not firing on all cylinders.   They are not willing to let him handle the supposed-to-be-easy theft of the Godwin file during Senator Whitfield's reception for the British ambassador.   Hawkins is conveniently in a cast because he broke his ankle on his last mission.   The other SDF boys are away on another mission.   That leaves Skeeter to watch his back.   Hawkins and Skeeter have to go forward with their plans despite Dylan's resistance.

Skeeter, determined to prove to the boss that she can be a competent, capable SDF agent, contacts a new member of the team, Gillian "Red Dog" Pentycote (General Grant's new assistant) to supply her with enough arms and equipment to support a small army.   In typical alpha-male fashion, Dylan tells Skeeter to get rid of it.   In typical, alpha-female fashion, Skeeter pretends to obey his orders and hides the arms and equipment from Dylan.

As in the other books of the Steele Street Series, Janzen includes a secondary mini-romance.   Travis is again the secondary hero of Crazy Love.   Only he falls for a different girl.   (In Book One, Crazy Hot, he was in love with Regan.   In Book Two, Crazy Cool, he was interested in Skeeter.   In Book Four, Crazy Kisses, he was intrigued by Jane.)   Travis is hoping that he will someday become fascinated with a woman who will return his interest.

When Skeeter realizes she needs additional SDF support, she calls Travis to Washington.   Then she sends Red Dog to Dulles to pick up an angel.   Loved the vivid description of this new character.   Who would have thought to pair drop-dead gorgeous Travis with a coming-apart-at-the-seams mess like Gillian.   Gillian's shirt is mis-buttoned; her shoelace is coming untied; her skirt is not quite zipped to the top, etc.   And Travis wants to put her back together.   But only after he takes her apart.   The reader cannot help but wear the same big, silly smile that Travis and Gillian are wearing after they experience their own hot love scene (in a car, no less).

Even though their parts were small, Travis and Red Dog almost stole the show.   Janzen did such a great job of continuing to develop Travis's character (as he comes to terms with becoming a member of the SDF team).   And then she introduces a 'my life is as messy as my attire' character to finally end Travis's lack of a love life.

Travis and Gillian almost stole Dylan and Skeeter's thunder because much of their personality had already been developed in the previous books of the series.   Yes, Janzen gives the readers of Crazy Love enough details about Dylan and Skeeter's past to become very involved with them (in this book alone), but they were much richer, fully-developed characters because I had read the previous books of the series.

Janzen has been using two tools to tie the Steele Street 'Crazy' Series together.   One: the SDF boys all have a passion for muscle cars; and two: General Richard "Buck" Grant is the man-in-charge who keeps the government alphabet from their doorstep.   Janzen has made Skeeter 'one of the boys' with regard to the muscle cars.   She helps the boys all rebuild and take care of their special, named cars.

The muscle car scene in Crazy Love had a contrived feel to it.   Skeeter is mad at Dylan, so she takes Mercy out to race at the Midnight Doubles.   However, the interaction Skeeter had with the 'POS' [piece of shit] car (while running from the bad guys) was much more realistic and flowed more seamlessly with the story (and revealed Skeeter's mechanic skills to the reader).

General Grant did not appear in Crazy Love, but he was mentioned.   He is still recognized as a very important part of the SDF team and now he has a new assistant to add more flavor to his office.

Janzen continues to enthrall Romantic Suspense enthusiasts.   Crazy Love is another winner!   It embodies all the elements that make it a keeper.   {1} The romance starts on page one and gives the reader the requisite happily-ever-after at the end.   {2} A sense of action and adventure seems to run through the whole book.   {3} The suspense in always in the background; making the reader wonder if Skeeter will be able to save Dylan; if Dylan will have to save Skeeter; how will the good guys be able to outwit and beat the bad guys.   {4} The sensuality and love scenes were potent, hot and great reading.   {5} Was so emotionally invested in the characters that just wanted to spend more time with them.

Want to thank Janzen for letting us get a brief glimpse of Superman again.   His role is relatively small, but it was nice to see him again and to witness his role as a new father.   Janzen did a great job of keeping Hawkins in his totally alpha-male role and yet see him as a loving, doting, new father.   (Talk about warm fuzzy moments.)

Great series.   Can't wait to read Book Six, Crazy Sweet, Travis and Gillian's story.
--Vonda M. Reid   (Thursday; July 15, 2010 : 1:15 p.m.)     [127]

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Books In The Series: "The Steele Street Series (aka: The Special Defense Force Series)"
# Date Title Hero Heroine
01.10-2005Crazy HotQuinn Younger "Captain America"Regan McKinney
  secondary:Peter "Kid Chaos" ChronopolousNicole Alana "Nikki" McKinney
02.11-2005Crazy CoolChristian Hawkins "Superman"Katya "Kat" Dekker
  secondary:Peter "Kid Chaos" ChronopolousNicole Alana "Nikki" McKinney
03.02-2006Crazy WildCesar Raoul Eduardo "Creed" Rivera "jungle boy"Dominique Cordelia "Cody" Stark
  secondary:Dylan Hart "Shadow"Skeeter Bang
04.03-2006Crazy KissesPeter "Kid Chaos" ChronopolousNicole Alana "Nikki" McKinney
  secondary:Travis JamesJane Linden
05.07-2006Crazy LoveDylan Hart "Shadow"Skeeter Bang "Baby Bang" "SB303"
  secondary:Travis JamesGillian "Red Dog" Pentycote
06.11-2006Crazy SweetTravis James "Angel" "Angel Boy"Gillian "Red Dog" Pentycote
  secondary:C. Smith RydellHonoria "Honey" York-Lytton
07.11-2007On The LooseC. Smith RydellHonoria "Honey" York-Lytton
  introducing:Alejandro CamposLily Robbins
08.01-2008Cutting LooseZachary PradeLily Robbins
  introducing:Dr. Gabriel ShoreCherie Hacker
09.09-2008Loose And EasyJuan Aurelio "Johnny" RamosEsme Alexandria Alden
  introducing:Daniel Axel "Dax" Killian 
10.08-2009Breaking LooseDaniel Axel "Dax" KillianSuzanna Royale "Suzi" Toussi
  introducing:Conroy FarrelScout
11.02-2011Loose EndsConroy FarrelJane Linden

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♥  Disclaimer:   I Purchased This Book
♥  Very Subjective Rating

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