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Monday, October 06, 2008

Deadly Game

****½ Deadly Game by Christine Feehan. Contemporary paranormal romantic suspense.

This is the fifth book in the Ghostwalker series (in order, the first four are Shadow Game, Mind Game, Night Game (#24), and Conspiracy Game). Deadly Game follows Conspiracy Game closely, as Ken and Mari, the hero and heroine in Deadly Game are the twin siblings of Jack and Briony, the hero and heroine of Conspiracy Game.

When the book opens, Ken and his team are trying to protect Senator Freeman from assassination, something he has mixed feelings about, as Senator Freeman is a pal of Whitney, the evil genius behind the Ghostwalkers, not to mention that Freeman was at least partially responsible for Ken's capture and torture. But he does his job, and shoots a sniper. Only to discover that the sniper is his sister-in-law's twin, and that Mari's team's mission was also to protect Senator Freeman.

Mari also had a secondary mission: to tell Senator Freeman about Whitney's breeding program and enlist his aid in stopping it, thus protecting her "sisters"--the other Ghostwalker women who are her fellow prisoners.

As with Briony and Jack, there's literal chemistry between Ken and Mari, which quickly develops into more. But Ken and Mari are definitely different from their twins. Ken's differences are physically very apparent: the torture he underwent left pretty much not one square inch of skin that's unscarred. He's also convinced he's inherited his father's madness and is doomed to kill any woman he loves in a jealous rage.

Mari and Briony were raised apart--Briony with a circus family, and Mari in the lab, trained from early childhood as a soldier. She's been kept under control by Whitney's promise to leave Briony alone if Mari cooperates with him. But the breeding program, which consists of Whitney instructing his supersoldiers to rape the women, is the last straw, and Mari's working on a plan of escape.

I really enjoy this series. Ken and Mari are unique characters, and their personalities have been shaped by their experiences. There's plenty of action and adventure, steamy sex, convincing relationship building, suspenseful intrigue, and interesting paranormal elements.

My one problem with Deadly Game is that it's repetitive. Which wouldn't be a problem if I'd read it over the course of a month instead of a day. But reading it quickly meant I was hammered over the head with facts like Mari can't leave her "sisters", and that Ken's scarring means sex has to be rough for him to feel it. If I'd been putting the book down after every chapter and not picking it up again until the next day, those repetitions would have merely served as reminders. As it is, though, I felt a bit battered by the sledgehammer.

I'm wondering if this is a trend for Feehan. I hope not. It's not something that will make me stop reading the books, as long as the stories are still there, but it does decrease my enjoyment.

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Can't remember if I already read this one or not. Was there a latest book already out after Deadly Game?
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