Review – Hard Target (Elite Ops #1) by Kay Thomas

hard target by kay thomasPublisher:  Avon Impulse
Publish Date: November 12, 2013
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss

The first installment in the Elite Ops series, featuring sexy ex-military men … and the women who rescue their hearts.

Former DEA agent Leland Hollis wasn’t planning on being a hero. Recovering from an injury sustained during a drug bust gone wrong and with more personal demons than he cares to admit, he wants nothing more than peace and a chance to rebuild his life. But when Anna Mercado’s crazy ex shows up wielding a baseball bat, Leland can’t ignore his instinct to help. And after her son is kidnapped, Leland agrees to deliver the ransom into dangerous territory south of the border.

Anna has no choice but to go with this stranger she’s just met if she ever wants to see her son again. But getting the boy out of a violent cartel region involves risking everything. And for that Leland will have to convince Anna to do the scariest thing of all … open her heart and trust him.
This blurb came from Goodreads

If you are able, like the White Queen in Alice in Wonderland, to “believe six impossible things before breakfast” then you will probably get a kick out of this romantic suspense/bodyguard romance/heroine in jeopardy/mother’s ultimate sacrifice story.

Unfortunately for me, it tripped my “willing suspension of disbelief” meter early in the first chapter. I hung on for the ride because I promised to review this one for Library Journal, and I’m going to have the devil’s own time writing a version of this review that fits under 250 words. Wish me luck?

Anna Mercado’s estranged husband is “The Tequila King” in Mexico. And their 14-year-old son is on the waiting list for a heart transplant. Meanwhile, she’s agreed to one last holiday weekend in Cancun as a family before their son has surgery in Dallas to get a LVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device) to buy him some time while the hospital keeps looking for a heart donor. She overhears her husband on the phone planning to kidnap their son and have her killed.

So she “steals” their passports and overnight case and escapes back to Dallas. Her husband catches up to them at a Best Western motel (doesn’t that sound suitably prosaic) and starts beating her with a baseball bat. Even more stereotypical. This scene is interrupted by DEA agent Leland Hollis who is hiding out at that very Best Western from a Mexican drug cartel while recuperating from a busted ankle.

The DEA agent gets the baseball bat wielding husband arrested. This should be the end, but of course, it isn’t. The kid gets kidnapped and a ransom is demanded. The DEA agent and Anna get sent on an incredibly wild goose chase back to cartel country with the ransom money. And equally expectedly, this whole case really doesn’t have anything to do with the ransom money after all.

Not only is the kid’s dad involved with the cartels up to his slimy neck, but this plot is so stinkingly convoluted that it is worthy of the most tear-jerky kind of soap opera, the kind where a mother will do absolutely anything to save her child.

Including sacrifice her life. Including have sex with the nearly-but-not-quite washed-up agent who might save their lives, and might save himself.

If you’re thinking that Anna and the DEA agent figure out that they are in love with each other when it’s almost-but-not-quite too late, of course they do. If you enjoy trips to cliche-city by way of troperville, this train visits all the stops.

I give Hard Target a D+

2 thoughts on “Review – Hard Target (Elite Ops #1) by Kay Thomas”

  1. Wow you really did not enjoy this one. Why would a father put his own child in danger by preventing his much needed surgery? Even if he doesn’t care for the child, he is worthless as a hostage for ransom if he dies.

  2. There was a huge dose of crazysauce in this one. Dad delayed the surgery so wifey could get trapped in cartel country and donate her heart to the son and her lungs to the cartel leader’s wife. As if the son wouldn’t be traumatized by knowing his mother was killed to save him? This was a soap opera and not a book, I swear!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.