Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Book Review: Dying to Live

Dying to Live is the fourth in the authors’ Elite Operatives series. Here, Kim Baldwin and Xenia Alexiou tell the tale of Zoe Anderson-Howe, the spoiled twenty-something child of a business mogul. She is kidnapped by Columbian guerrillas, known as FARC, who want to ransom her for millions of her father’s money. She is taken deep into the Columbian jungle to a camp where she meets other hostages who are awaiting release, some have been waiting for years. In her arrogance, she demands to be released, refuses to eat, and continues acting like a spoiled princess who is used to getting her way.
Elite Operative Fetch has been deeply uncover as FARC’s “medica.” Her mission is to effect the release of the hostages. Her assignment is complicated when Zoe is added to the list of hostages she needs to free. Fetch knows about Zoe’s pampered life and wants nothing to do with the likes of Zoe.
Unbeknownst to those living in the jungle, a madman has released a deadly virus upon the world. The virus kills its victim within days of coming into contact with it. Very quickly, millions of people are dead or dying. Two of the camp’s guerrillas come down with the virus after returning from a visit into the nearest town. The virus begins spreading through the camp.
Fetch has no choice but to get the hostages, including Zoe, out of the camp and on their way to freedom. However, matters become complicated when it becomes apparent that three of the hostages have been infected with the virus. Fetch has no choice but to leave them behind in the jungle to die.
As the remaining hostage and Fetch run for their lives, a mutual respect grows between them as they each begin to understand the other better. It doesn’t take long for them to realize that while Zoe should have become ill with the virus because of her proximity to the stricken hostages. However, she remains healthy. Two guerrillas from their camp find them, Fetch kills them. As they near the pickup zone, Fetch realizes that Zoe is the answer to stopping the virus’ spread even as she realizes she is infected by the virus and will die within five days.
No sooner do Fetch and Zoe consummate their love than Fetch leaves on another assignment - to find the man who set loose the pandemic.
Baldwin and Alexiou have written a barn burner of a thriller. The reader is taken in from the first page to the last. The tension is maintained throughout the book with rare exception. 
In the last chapter, the authors re-introduces characters who first appeared in earlier books in the series. Readers new to the series are warned to slow their reading or face the possibility of getting lost in trying to figure out who these “new” people are. However, by reading slower, the reader will easily see that authors explain who these people are and their relationship to one another.
Baldwin and Alexiou are defining the genre of romantic suspense within the lesbian genre with this series. You’ll find yourself rushing to purchase the first three books in the series if you haven’t already read them, or, if you have read them, wishing the authors would write the fifth in the series faster.

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