Out of Sight
Out of Sight is one of those Brockmann-esque novels blending romance with action adventure. It’s definitely not a romance novel, despite the heat between AJ Cooper, a rifle-toting former beauty queen, and Kane Wright, super spy. It’s more focused on action and killing than it is on true love, and though the sex definitely sizzles, their courtship is more physical than anything else (once, impossibly, while they were both astride a camel, and the camel watched!). Those looking for candlelit dinners and soft words should look elsewhere. Our hero and heroine worry a lot about the lack of professionalism in getting involved on a mission, but lust prevails.
AJ Cooper is a rookie antiterrorist assassin being led on a mission by Kane Wright to assassinate an Arab terrorist in Egypt. A crack shot sniper with a photographic memory, her superiors at the T-FLAC academy decide she’s ripe for her first true adventure. But a case of the nerves has her blowing her first clear shot at the evil Raazaq and Kane is tempted to send her home. But orders from the powers that be force him to stick with the gutsy, gorgeous AJ.
There’s little subtlety in the author’s drawing of AJ. Although groomed by an evil, selfish mother to be a beauty queen, she morphs into some sort of Lara Croft clone, determined to conquer a man’s world without trading on her jaw-dropping beauty – about which we are reminded over and over and over again. Evil, selfish mothers are nothing new in romance novels, and while the beauty queen aspect was a fairly novel premise, it’s hard to imagine many Miss Illinois bowing out of the Miss America contest to become assassins. The Lara Croft comparisons grow when considering her name: AJ. Judging by the cover’s depiction of the heroine with long plait, tight tank top, and giant bosoms, how about Angelina Jolie?
Besides a lack of subtlety in AJ’s characterization, there’s also a lack of consistency. The author seemed torn between playing with either Barbie or G.I. Joe; I suspect she decided to mix the two. And although we hear a lot about how well respected AJ is by her male colleagues, for both her prowess and her “assets,” she is definitely not a feminist figure. If she’s so all-fired determined not to trade on her looks, why not argue with the male powers that be against casting her as a honey trap for an evil terrorist? Given her sharpshooting skills, why not let her just shoot him like a man would?
As for Kane Wright, readers looking for a hero wracked with guilt over the death of colleagues while on a mission he’d previously led will find him here – in full cardboard. His continual self-loathing actually casts a pall over part of the book; feelgood stuff this is not.
That said, however, readers looking for action and a quick-paced novel will find it here. Egypt is shown in vivid color and a trek through the desert to track down the terrorist will raise goose bumps. That excitement deflates, though, by a closing scene as unbelievable as they come. Recall how unrealistic the Armageddon scenarios from various James Bond movies are and you’ll have an idea how this one ends.
Adair certainly has a flair for high-paced adventure, and while Out of Sight is not dull, a lack of deft characterization and over-the-top writing renders the book too unrealistic.