Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tara Janzen -- On The Loose

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ .   {4.95}
Action: ♠♠♠♠♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣♣. / Romance: ♥♥♥♥ / Sensuous: ♦♦♦♦ / Suspense: ♠♠♠♠♠
Action: 5 / Emotion: 4.5 / Romance: 4 / Sensuous: 4 / Suspense: 5 // Laughter: 14 / Tears: 0

As I was reading Tara Janzen's Steele Street Series books back to back, had no idea that Janzen considered the 'Loose'-titled books a spin-off from the 'Crazy'-titled books.   Not exactly sure what a spin-off entails, but these books felt like one continuous series to me.   The conclusion made sense because I was excited about reading Smith and Honey's story, which was to be featured in On The Loose -- but met and loved them in Crazy Sweet.   How is that a spin-off?

In the six 'Crazy' books of the series Janzen interwove into the main story line a mini-romance involving future protagonists.   Unaware of the spin-off, I was fully expecting to read two romances in On The Loose.   Rather than write a mini-romance between the two characters that were to be featured in the next book of the series, Janzen choose instead to introduce the hero- and heroine-to-be and ignite a bit of interest between them as they played out their respective roles in Smith and Honey's story.

Janzen again entertained the readers with the great chemistry and fun exchange between the couple introduced in Crazy Sweet, C. Smith Rydell and Honoria "Honey" York-Lytton.   No couple in the series has created as many laughs as Smith and Honey.   Absolutely love this couple.   The only thing missing from the story was Smith's lists.   Sure did enjoy his lists!

Smith has been loaned to the DEA's Counterdrug Operations in Peru because they are looking for an inside leak in their agency.   Smith and a young counterdrug agent (Rufio Cienfuegos) have located another drug lord's airstrip and were performing surveillance.   Smith is shocked to find that the amazing pilot the agency is looking for is none other than Irena Polchenko, an ex-lover.   He believed Irena was dead because six years ago her plane crashed and burned back in Afghanistan after she sold him to Jamal Abdurrashid, an Afghan battle lord, to finance her entry into the drug trafficking trade.   Before Smith and Rufio could radio the supporting contingency to arrest the bad guys on the airstrip, Irena manages to escape.

Smith is not a happy camper when he is pulled from his case to become bodyguard to none other than Honey York-Lytton.   He knew she had strings to pull, but this was beyond acceptable.   But the truth was that Honey's strings had been pulled; by none other than the Special Defense Force's behind-the-scenes leader, White Rook.   She was being blackmailed to deliver weapons and a beat up, locked black briefcase to Alejandro Campos, a drug and arms dealer in El Salvador.   (White Rook was mentioned in connection with Dylan back in Book Five, Crazy Love.   One has to wonder if Janzen is setting up a suspenseful structure for future books.)

Another truth was Honey wanted to make the trip to El Salvador because she has not heard from her sister, Julia Ann-Marie Bakkert (a perpetual do-gooder) in twelve weeks.   Julia is a nun working for St. Joseph's Orphanage and School near Cristobal, close to the camp of governmental rebels, Cuerpo Nacional de Libertad.   Honey had heard a rumor (from Father Bartolo) leading her to believe that Julia might be pregnant by the rebel leader, Diego Garcia (and knew it would not have been a consensual joining).   Honey did not, however, reveal this fact to Smith -- she just keep shooting down his efforts to keep her from making the trip.

As Smith and Honey travel to El Salvador to deliver the weapons and briefcase to ransom the governmental pouch that Diego Garcia confiscated from the plane that crashed near his camp, they renew their relationship.   Neither Smith nor Honey have forgotten their short time together in San Luis.   They have amazing, revealing dialogue.   Instead of lists, Smith now has descriptive nicknames for his intelligent, wealthy, beautiful (but wealthy), girly-girl.   Like: "Little Miss Cigar-Smoking Sparkle Toes".

The suspense and action increase exponentially as two other vital participants make their point of view appearance.   First, the pilot, Irena.   Second, the drug lord, Alejandro.

Irena is one brilliant, conniving, self-serving, cold-blooded bad guy (who has built a large, thriving drug-dealing business).   She will let no one interfere with her riches and power, much less an ex-lover who was supposed to be dead (along with her most well-guarded secret).   Irena calls in favors and spends thousands of dollars in her pursuit to assassinate Rydell.   Not only is Irena a gifted pilot, she is also an incredible marksman.   (Sure do seem to have a lot of female gunslingers in this series.)

Irena is aided by two characters that play very minor roles in the story.   Aristotle "Ari" Alexander Poulos, Irena's chief of security, is also a close friend and reluctantly joins her as she searches for Rydell.   Irena sent her chief of operations, a former East German Intelligence officer, Hans Klechner, to take care of the other man that saw her on that hilltop near Cuzco.

Since one of my compulsive behaviors is to collect all the books of a series before reading even the first one, it stands to reason (that by Book Seven) it was easy to pick up on Janzen's obvious hint about Alejandro Campos' true identity.   Two facts made it obvious.   Fact one: one of the original chop-shop boys disappeared years ago (Book Six, Crazy Sweet).   Fact two: Alejandro was introduced in On The Loose as he was hot-wiring a car (thinking he was too old to be stealing cars in alleys).   (Fact three: my personal Tara Janzen list, showing the order in which her Steele Street books should be read as well as listing the hero and heroine of each book.)

One could not help but be charmed by Alejandro and awed by the razor-sharp edge he was walking.   To successfully play the part of being a drug lord for so long spoke highly of his loyalty, honor and strength of character.   Janzen also hinted to the reader that Alejandro would soon be giving up this role.   Several of his close friends kept telling him it was time to leave, to go home.

One more wrinkle was thrown into the works.   Lily Robbins, a naive Albuquerque high school teacher, had traveled to St. Joseph's Orphanage and School to film their good works.   Only she bit off more than she could chew.   She filmed evil beatings and murders instead the warm fuzzy moments of nuns caring for orphaned children.   Then the nun, Julia, sent her to a drug lord, no less, for safety when Diego Garcia came after her camera.   Amazingly enough, she found the charming, gorgeous, flawed drug lord did make her feel safe and did, indeed, protect her from Garcia.

After going to great effort to develop the many characters and multiple story lines of these numerous different factions, Janzen then leads them all to Campos Plantation, Morazán Province, El Salvador for a big, action-packed, spine-tingling, and a bit surprising finish.

Janzen has written another top-notch winner!   On The Loose has all the features that make for an interesting, enthralling read.   {1} Action and adventure from start to finish.   There is always something happening.   {2} Edgy suspense following each action.   Could not wait to see how Janzen was going to write her way out of all corners she got Smith and Honey into.   {3} The romance was vivid.   Smith had not called Honey since meeting her in San Luis four months ago, but he kept track of her, through the Washington Post society section, no less.   Smiles here!   Honey was just as enchanted with Smith.   She spent so much time researching him that she found out what the "C" stood for.   Warm fuzzies here!   {4} The sexual chemistry between Smith and Honey was potent and spicy.   They generated heat when they made love.   Just wish they had made love more often.

Janzen has obviously made her way on to my "Favorite Authors" list.   Cannot wait to read Book Eight, Cutting Loose.
--Vonda M. Reid   (Sunday; 18, 2010 : 2:03 p.m.)     [129]

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

On The Loose Quotations:
292Dawn was not Campos's favorite time of day.   For his money, dawn could have been done away with completely, and days would start about ten-nish or so, . . .
321He'd spent two days in the woods with a Force Recon team once and heard less chatter than he had in the half hour he'd been on the trail with Honey -- six guys with a job to do, and they'd managed it without hardly speaking a word.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

On The Loose Links:
RatedPostedSiteNotes, Comments, Etc.
4.5010-....-2007A Romance Review 
C / Hot12-04-2007All About Romancehasn't read previous books in series
4.13 average{15 reviews}Amazonas of: May 31, 2012
4.06 average{19 ratings}Barnes & Nobleas of: May 31, 2012
3.0008-08-2010Curled Up With A Good Bookalso on Amazon
B10-31-2007Dear Author 
----Fantastic FictionList of Books
----Fiction DBList of Books
3.94 average{34 reviews}Good Readsas of: May 31, 2012
3.78 average{17 ratings}Library Thingas of: May 31, 2012
4.5009-21-2007Night Owl Romance[qv]
B / Hot03-06-2008Renée Reads Romancealso on Library Thing
4 Roses11-14-2007Romance Reader At Heart 
4.56 average{9 reviews}Shelfarias of: May 31, 2012
B+11-14-2007The Good, The Bad, The UnreadHolly, from Book Binge
A+10-18-2007The Good, The Bad, The UnreadJennifer, like her take on the frou-frou aspect
5.0011-26-2007The Long and Short of Itliked {1} the voice {2} the words
3.0011-18-2007The Romance Reader 
4.9505-31-2012Wolf Bear Does Booksposted: Amazon, GR, Shelfari // shorter: B&N, fdb, LT

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

♥  Disclaimer:   I Purchased This Book
♥  Very Subjective Rating

No comments:

Post a Comment