I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Enforcer by Marliss Melton
Series: Taskforce #3
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Independent on 2 September 2013
Reading Challenges: 2013 In Uniform Challenge
The Taskforce (a homeland security group) sends Special Agent Tobias Burke to infiltrate a militia in West Virginia. They suspect the leader, Captain Dylan Connelly, of bombing Defence Secretary Nolan’s car and killing him. Tobias has to find compelling evidence of Dylan’s guilt or innocence.
Dylan is suffering from a severe case of PTSD as a result of her work in Mortuary Affairs in Afghanistan. I’m not sure why Dylan is able to practice as a physician as she is quite unstable with little things affecting her severely. Despite this and the fact she can’t stand actually hurting people, she has earned the respect of her fellow militiamen and the town. Dylan has a multitude of problems that she isn’t really coping with; she turns to her psychiatrist and her priest for guidance but they seem to have their own agenda. Melton took a huge risk creating someone like Dylan who is so mentally fragile – I bought the internal war Dylan waged with herself but found it hard to really connect with her as a romantic heroine.
I’m afraid I don’t know much about the real Tobias. We see different facets of his personality of course – Tobias the militiaman who tries to whip his soldiers into shape, Tobias the loyal Taskforce agent who will seduce Dylan for the good of his country and Tobias the idealistic rebel who is willing to go up against the government if he needs to. I wanted to know more about what he was like when he wasn’t spinning lies. What was his life like when he wasn’t on the job? Who was his family? His friends? I knew he liked to sing and could play the guitar but there must be more to him as a person.
I’m afraid I found the romance a bit implausible. Toby had read Dylan’s file and suspected her of being a home-grown terrorist yet in their first meeting, they had a ‘moment’ while discussing the Second Amendment to the American Constitution. “At his remark, her gaze fell with feminine appraisal to his hands lying loosely on the tabletop. Sexual awareness sparked without warning, sending heat to his extremities as their gazes collided” (p5). Maybe it’s because I’m Australian and not American that I don’t find the American Constitution sexy. Inspirational perhaps but not sexy. Their mutual attraction develops quickly with Toby musing that because “Dylan had taken a real liking to his dog…[this] made her less likely to be a terrorist” (p120). What?
The militia is presented in a fairly sympathetic light – as those that believe strongly in the Constitution and not rabid fanatics. Their activities also fall squarely into the Diet Coke camp as they hardly commit any offences. The one big offence they do commit isn’t that horrible in the grand scheme of things.
I really liked the premise behind this book but the execution didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Although this is the third in the series, it can be read as a standalone.