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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

No Regrets

***** No Regrets by Shannon K. Butcher. Romantic suspense. Re-read.

Noelle is a cryptologist, a genius in a very specialized field. But she may soon be an unemployed genius because she's turned down a grant from the military, refusing to allow her work to be used for violence.

David is an ex-elite special forces military officer who's just trying to get on with his life after a terrorist organization called the Swarm killed his wife. He thought he'd taken them all out, but the Swarm is back, and they're after the codes to nuclear weapons, and David's old boss convinces him to come back for one more mission.

Unfortunately for Noelle, the Swarm doesn't care about her principles and invades her house. David rescues her, and the rest of the story is one page-turning situation after the next.

This is Shannon's debut novel, but you'd never know it. The action is flawlessly interspersed with the developing romance between David and Noelle and with both characters facing and dealing with their personal demons. The characters are clear and well-developed. I enjoyed the balance between military officer David and pacifist Noelle, both of whom were portrayed as reasonable people, even though they held opposite opinions.

What grabbed me most was Noelle's intelligence. So many times in fiction, super-intelligent characters are portrayed as functional idiots. They're depicted as being "book-smart" but lacking in common sense, the stereotypical "absent-minded professors." Or the story will say they're smart, but you never see any evidence of it at all. Noelle is brilliant, and she acts like it. We see her both in her element (working on the codes) and out of it (fighting for her life), and her brain's always working. She doesn't become some superwoman martial artist or weapons expert (a romantic suspense cliche Shannon avoids here), but neither is she TSTL--there's none of that "proving her independence" by running into the line of fire crap that always makes me wish the so-called heroine would get shot. In short (yeah, too late--I know), she's a realistic smart person. Not only that, the other characters aren't dumbed down to make Noelle look smarter. Just a really nice, all-too-rare characterization.

There's a sequel coming to No Regrets, titled No Control, but unfortunately, it won't be out until next year.

Note: This book is currently being featured on the Cherry Forums BookClub. Go chat about it.


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Great review Darla! I almost picked this up at Walmart the other day, but after your review here...I think I will pick it up next time :)

Have great day sweetie!
Cool. I think you'll like it, Julia--I know you enjoy romantic suspense. :)
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