Thursday, November 12, 2015

Last Hope (Hitman #4) Book Review

Title:  Last Hope
Series:  Hitman #4
Author:  Jessica Clare & Jen Frederick
Publisher:  Berkley
Main Characters:  Rafe Mendoza & Ava
Book Cover:  So Sexy & Intriguing!
My Rating:  3 Monster 's

First Thoughts:  I'm speechless.


In the explosive new Hitman novel from the bestselling authors of Last Kiss and Last Hit a jungle mercenary and a female target find love on the run...

Mendoza: I grew up in the slums and lost everything I loved to poverty, illness, and death. I had only one skill to leverage myself out of my circumstances—violence. Being hired out as a mercenary hitman brought me money and built an empire. But all that I've fought for is in jeopardy. My next job: Steal secret information that could bring down world governments. Find my target. Destroy it. But then, I meet her.

Ava: Karma hates me. When my best friend Rose is kidnapped, I have no choice but to take a job as a mule for a pair of criminals intent on selling top-secret information to the highest bidder. I should have known that bad luck tends to cling, because the plane I'm on goes down. That I survived a crash-landing was a miracle. And so was being rescued by Rafe Mendoza—hot, sexy, dangerous. The thing is, he wants the information that I need to free Rose. I can't let him have it, but I need his help. And I need to fight this crazy attraction for this mercenary with hungry eyes. Rose is depending on me, and I won't let her down, no matter how appealing Rafe is.

My Review:

The Hitman series is a favorite of mine because of its uniqueness, anti-heroes, and non-traditional story lines.  I have loved each of the previous books with their dark, suspenseful plot lines, tortured anti-social heroes, and quirky yet determined  heroines.  Thus far, the books have been connected by a similar theme with a loosely connected story arc and often time, characters toting some serious baggage.  The books are well-written with witty dialogue, lustful romance, and dangerous missions.  The vivid imaginations and writing skills of these authors are evident in each book.  And so, I began Last Hope with great anticipation and high expectations.

The story starts very similar to previous books - by jumping right into the heart of a mission. Rafe Mendoza is a mercenary carrying out surveillance on Ava who is working as a mule for a dangerous group holding her best friend captive.  Rafe needs access to the information that Ava is carrying in order to free a friend and teammate, while Ava must complete her directive in order to save her friend's life.  After weeks of observing her, Rafe finds himself extremely attracted to Ava - almost to the point of blowing his mission.  And so, he risks an arranged accidental meeting with her.

Through a comedy of errors, the pair not only meet, they find themselves stranded in the Amazon rain forest, having survived a plane crash.  The suspense is revving up as this pair joins forces to battle some dangerous foes, both human & animal, and also the weather in an effort to escape the jungle and save their friend's lives.  And here is where things run a little too far off course to remain believable for me.  The story's focus switches from the mission and typical dark violence to rest almost completely on the very considerable "asset" in Rafe's pants . . . yes, Rafe is very well endowed - beyond any porn movie star's dreams well endowed.  That's hot, but . . . he's afraid to use it, even when Ava repeatedly begs for it. Once she discovers what Rafe is packing, her mission becomes to see it, feel it, touch it, and have it.  This would be hot and seductive if it wasn't hounded into the ground - over and over and over!   Unfortunately, way too much of the story is taken up with this back and forth plot line about Godzilla (Ava's words, not mine).  The whole issue turned into a frivolous, almost silly thing between two adults with a strong attraction to one another.  What could have been a romantic, lustful, sex scene is relegated to cartoon status.

Having said that, I still enjoyed Last Hope (though not nearly as much as previous books) as the talent of these authors is evident.  I do realize there was a reason for the focus on this particular asset of Rafe's (hidden in his backstory), but in this case, I feel like it was carried too far - to the point of distracting me from the quirky, unique characters and the dark, violent suspense that is normally prevalent in this series.  I will, however, continue reading this series as new books are released.  The series as a whole is a Must Read!

My Rating:  3 Monster 's . . . And that's the truth!  (Yes, it was also described as "Monster")

Cross My Heart . . . xxx

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