One Minute To Midnight
Automatik teammates”Bolt Action”
Mary and ex-Navy SEAL, Ben Jackson are deep undercover in the Morris Flats,
a town where shady government officials and gunrunners run the streets. Danger is everywhere but it might not be the guns that take these teammates by surprise. Ben and Mary juggle their undercover identities while fighting their growing attraction. The attraction at the core of the story kept me reading but the chemistry often gets overshadowed by the slow-paced plot.
Generally, I never know what to expect when white authors write POC, but something about
the way Russo does it works. There is no
defaulting to white in Russo’s writing, He doesn’t
just paint his characters in colors he digs into what it means to write a non-white character. For example Ben gives another black guy “the nod” and when Ben runs into the police on his first day in town, Rosso acknowledges how the power structure works in the dynamic.
There were a few uneven shifts from a close third person to a distant one that threw me I’ve also noticed that the male romance writers I’ve read tend to lean heavily on technical details. I was Googling to keep up and I think the reason this happens is that there is no reader avatar. Also bullets. . . so many bullets.
Now we are moving from the guys who stop the gunrunner to the man who runs the guns. Who some might proclaim is The Gunrunner.
The Gun Runner by Scott Hildreth
Ex-marine Michael Tripp is the new gunrunner in Kansas City. He’s a cool, collected guy who isn’t afraid to use his military training to dole out justice as a civilian. So when he sees Terra getting dragged around her abusive ex-boyfriend, he doesn’t hesitate to save her.
But things might get rocky for Tripp because he is on mafia territory and what Tripp doesn’t know is the girl of his dreams is the only daughter of the Godfather.
What to say abou Tripp ? Well, he knows the gun-running business and commands s a highly skilled crew to run tactical missions. When Tripp’s newest enemy, the Godfather, needs someone to rescue his son even he goes to Tripp.
What to say About Terra ? Terra Agrioli is a mafia princess who moonlights as Terra Wilson around Tripp. She. . . Doesn’t have a job. . .. she goes to Starbucks. . . She likes expensive shoes… She is dating
Tripp. . . She bought a pair of jeggings one time?
The point I’m making is that I needed a lot more from Terra. I tried to give
her the benefit of the doubt when she admits it’s kind of silly that she
doesn’t “do anything” but buy shoes. However, after 50% she just felt thin because all of her scenes were about or related to Tripp. She doesn’t even own her ‘lady of leisure” lifestyle either, she lies to Tripp about owning a
store because she’s ashamed. I mean volunteer, get a hobby. . . Something.
Which is too bad because Hildreth writes some solid action sequences and manages to works in pop culture reference in a way that feels natural. Like there is a scenes where Tripp and his co-worker/BFF are talking about Netflix and it felt like a real conversation you’d have about Netflix.
I found Hildreths’s action scenes much tighter and more controlled than Rosso’s. Like with Rosso there is a lot of technical detail but I found Hildreth’s much easier to follow.
Also I was looking this book up on Goodreads and I read the synopsis for another one of Hildreth’s books and it sounded JUST Like this one. Down to the saving the heroine in a public parking lot. Is this like a genre I don’t know about ?
Reading these two books side by side makes me wonder where ex-military stories would be without The Iraq War? We get so many heroes who are veterans and I wonder if we’d see as many if it weren’t for the war.
Okay, I think I need
a break from books about guns
*review copies provided from Netgalley