Ingrid Weaver delivers a poignant romance in the latest Family Secrets book, The Insider, as the story of the mysterious Gideon Faulkner is finally told.
In the months after a computer hacker named Achilles committed a daring heist on the World Bank, the world’s economy went into a tailspin. Times are tough everywhere, including the small town of Redemption, Oregon. Waitress Brooke Carter hoped to start a new life for herself, opening the bakery she’d dreamed of. Instead, like so many others, she lost her savings when the local bank folded, forcing her to keep her job at the diner on the outskirts of town while she tries to rebuild her nest egg.
One night a mysterious stranger appears at the diner around closing time. There’s something different about him, something lonely and a little bit lost. They spend some time together before he disappears back into the night. Brooke can’t help but be intrigued. She doesn’t know that he is the infamous Achilles everyone is looking for.
His real name is Gideon Faulkner, and he was one of six genetically engineered children born in the 1960s. Long believed dead, he was raised in isolation and brainwashed to obey the commands of those who held him. After committing the World Bank robbery, he finally began to break free of his conditioning, learning to think and feel for himself for the first time. His quest to free himself and set things right leads him to Brooke. But the forces closing in on him, both from the government and his controllers, may make their relationship a brief one.
Gideon is the primary reason the story stands out. He’s an unusual hero, the shy genius who still displays strength and determination. Weaver finds the perfect tone, a little melancholy with an underlying trace of longing, in Gideon’s interactions with Brooke that really makes the love tory work. This is a short book and the love story is rushed, but there’s still a good amount of emotion in the relationship that makes it enjoyable.
The action plot moves the overall series storyline closer to the finale, filling in some much needed pieces. But parts of the story remain woefully undeveloped, and I wanted much more from it than I got. Even so, for a short book where the romantic and suspense plots unfold separately, they are generally balanced well and build upon each other nicely. The Insider is a sweet and affecting romance, and the way it ends should build anticipation for the final Family Secrets book, Check Mate. Hopefully it will be as good, if not better.