ALL THE QUEEN’S MEN by Linda Howard

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Niema and Dallas Burdock both love their jobs as CIA operatives—and of course they love each other.  But when a mission to the Middle East goes south, Dallas forfeits his life to achieve the objective, and Niema falls apart.  She only makes it out of Iran thanks to the care and sacrifices of another agent on the team: “Tucker,” who turns out to be the CIA’s most deadly and elusive agent, John Medina.  Five years later, Niema and Medina cross paths again in a dangerous undercover mission surveilling a French terrorist.  But new details about the terrorist’s personal life force Niema to question their objective, while the growing attraction between Niema and Medina complicates the mission even further.

I read a bunch of Linda Howard books this week (15 to be exact) and this was definitely my favorite.  The thriller plot was incredibly engaging and even though I knew it was a romance and therefore had to have a happy ending (the fundamental law of the romance genre) the characters and situation were so complex and nuanced that the resolution was neither obvious nor above moral scrutiny.  Like all Linda Howard books, this is a steamy romance and has a couple of sex scenes, although far fewer than many of her books.

If you find this book compelling, it is the second in a trio of novels involving CIA spies.  The first is Kill and Tell and the last Kiss Me While I Sleep (both of which I also enjoyed, particularly the latter).

I won’t bore you with a bazillion Linda Howard posts, but if you are wondering about any of her books, I have now read All the Queen’s Men, Blood Born, Burn, Cover of Night, Cry No More, Death Angel, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Dying to Please, Ice (by far the worst), Kiss Me While I Sleep, Prey, Shadow Woman, To Die For, Up Close and Dangerous, and Veil of Night.

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