I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.by Nico Rosso
Published by Carina Countdown to Zero Hour (Black Ops: Automatik #1) on February 22nd 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Ex–Special Forces agent Artem "Art" Diaz is tatooed, muscular and undeniably dangerous. He's also deep undercover, posing as mob muscle for a deadly bratva boss. His mission: gain the Russians' trust. Then lead the strike team that will kill them all.
Chef Hayley Baskov knows better than to get involved with someone with such close mafia ties, but the handsome bodyguard who brought her to this cold, sprawling estate full of ruthless mobsters is inexplicably kind. A little firtation may keep her safe amidst the growing menace.
As Art’s timetable for action escalates, so do his encounters with Hayley. Stealing what illicit pleasure they can keeps them both sane in the face of evil. But when things get dangerous, Art has to tell her about his assignment, bringing her deeper into the shadowy world of black ops...and putting her life on the line.
Now Art has a new objective: protect Hayley from the man they both call boss.
I was intrigued by this book, because I’m a huge fan of romantic suspense, and I’ve read some of Rosso’s sci-fi romance novels and enjoyed them!
Art is deep undercover with the Russian mob and is patiently waiting for the day that he can take them down. He can’t wait to be the one to unravel them, from the inside out. But the day that Hayley turns up in the middle of his operation, Art realizes that he might be willing to risk everything for her.
It took me awhile to really get into this book, and that sucked. I love my suspense books to be hard hitting and action packed, and this book is more understated. There aren’t explosions and bullets flying. A lot of the suspense behind this book is the drama with Art being undercover, and having Hayley struggle with her attraction to a “criminal” and Art’s frustration with the mission and Hayley being in the center of it.
Once things started to pick up a bit, the book took a turn for the better for me. After Art and Hayley were in the thick of it, I started to become more invested in them as both individuals and in their relationship as a whole. While I wish that would have come sooner in the book than it did, I eventually got there.
I have to admit the the best part of the book for me was the last few chapters, when the bullets started flying and the real action picked up. It was then that I couldn’t stop reading, and needed to know how things were going to work out for Art and Hayley and the rest of Art’s team of operatives. While I enjoyed the few glimpses we got of some of the secondary characters in Art’s team, I don’t know that I would be interested enough to pick up their stories.
While I did enjoy the end of the book, it was a struggle to get there. I think for people who like the romantic suspense novels that are more psychological, this might be a great read. But for readers like me who want lots of action and explosions and bullets, this might be a harder read.
I give Countdown to Zero Hour a C