The Bane Affair
The Bane Affair is the first book in a series about the Smithson Group, an anti-terrorist bunch of hot spy guys. There are five books in the series (although this is the only full-length book) – this one is about a tortured (literally) hero named Christian Bane who falls in love with Natasha, the woman he is supposed to seduce and discard. The plot moves fast after a slow beginning, but the book felt unfinished. As for Christian and Natasha, the book may be burning, but they left me cold.
Dr. Wickham Bow is a brilliant scientist, confined to a wheelchair by a progressive neurolgical disease. He hasn’t let his illness stop him and continues his research and his mentorship of younger scholars. Woodrow Jinks, a top-notch expert in game theory, is in currently in residence at Wick’s home. Wick’s god-daughter, Natasha Gaudet, is his personal assistant. He must pay her well, since she drives an expensive car, trots around in trendy shoes, wears only designer clothes and drops brand names on every page. I never was quite sure what she did, though.
When the book begins, a business associate of Wick’s named Peter Deacon drives up in a Ferrari. When he sees hottie Natasha, he tosses her his keys and they take the car for a spin. It doesn’t take too long before he’s got Natasha naked on a balcony, then naked in a shower, then naked in a bed and then naked in…but you get my drift. “Peter Deacon” is really Christian Bane, an operative for a super-secret bunch of spyguys called The Smithson Group. They have discovered that Wick is developing a computer program that will seriously jeopardize the CIA’s ability to keep its intelligence information encrypted. Christian is posing as Deacon, a prospective client interested in purchasing the program. Christian has been ordered to use any means necessary to suss out the program, including using Natasha. He never expected to fall for her, nor she for him. When his cover is blown, they both find themselves in deadly danger.
I really wanted to like this book. After I got over the practically non-stop sex of the first part and the plot kicked in, I did enjoy the action. But I didn’t particularly like either Christian Bane or Nastasha Gaudet. Christian is the usual tortured hero with trust issues, whom I have met many, many times. He didn’t have anything in his personality to make him stand out from the herd of tortured heroes in romance land. To Christian’s credit, he is not a woman-hater, even though it was a woman who betrayed him and caused him to be imprisoned and tortured for a year. Christian angsts quite a bit, and falls for Natasha hard, but I never figured out why.
Natasha was so … shallow I guess is my first impression of her. She is such a name-dropper! Her social life consists of recreational sex and partying at clubs with her girlfriends. She loves her godfather Wick, but has cut ties with her mother. She’s pretty well rudderless, and well – shallow. To her credit, she isn’t a whiner and shows herself to be very brave when she and Christian are in danger, but I can’t help but wonder how the relationship will fare in the long run.
The Bane Affair introduces us to the other members of The Smithson Group and in November we will meet Tripp Shaughnessy in The Shaughnessy Accord. He seems like a lighthearted and not so angsty character, and I’ll probably check out his story. Readers who like action and have a higher tolerance for hip urban chicks than I do may enjoy this book more than I did. But for me, the non-stop angst and sex of the first half bored me, and by the time the plot got moving, it was too late to save the story.