Exit Strategy, by Lena Diaz. Avon Books. 384 pages. Mass market paperback $5.99.
The premise of this romantic thriller is something I’ve come across before. After the U. S. government’s intelligence agencies have pushed up against the legal limits of what that can do, secret and unofficial organizations emerge to do the most heinous dirty work necessary to keep our enemies (internal and external) in check.
EXIT Inc. has the cover name Extreme International Tours Incorporated. Indeed, the tour company actually functions like others in the high-risk adventure tour business. Under the cover, however, it is a paramilitary force with few restraints and shaky accountability. Worse yet, many of its leaders and highly trained enforcers are in it for their own personal agendas. It is a rogue group that has, paradoxically, used the term “rogue” for those among them who are questioning assignments and methods that seem unjustifiable.
One such questioner is Mason Hunt. Charged with eliminating a target named Sabrina Hightower, supposedly a threat to national security, Mason finds that this woman is entirely innocent and herself a victim. Could Mason’s assignment be a huge mistake, or is EXIT a corrupt organization? Soon enough, given Mason’s enormous attraction to this spunky, attractive young woman, as well as his moral sense of the situation, he becomes her protector.
The novel develops along these two related lines. Mason and a few others fight to expose and bring down the corrupt EXIT agents. This story line involves detailed plans, combat prowess, and courage. The companion story is the unsteady growth of a loving, trusting, and passionate relationship between Mason and Sabrina.
The stories are bound together, of course, and their combined action moves across the rugged North Carolina landscape near Ashville. Both story lines proceed unsteadily, with forward progress and setbacks in suspenseful tension.
Sabrina, a diminutive, curvy powerhouse, is a force to be reckoned with on many levels. She is out to discover how to bring EXIT to justice for the faulty zip-line that caused her parents’ deaths. Trying to reconnect with her parents, Sabina had purchased their anniversary trip package. Now, as she makes waves, Sabina has become a target of EXIT enforcers. . . .
To read the entire review, as it appears in the July 8, 2015 Fort Myers Florida Weekly; the July 9 Bonita Springs and Palm Beach/West Palm Beach editions, and the July 16 Naples and Palm Beach Gardens/Jupiter editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Exit Strategy