Review by the Cupcake.
There isn’t anything I don’t like about the setup for this series. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
Check, check, checkity check! And giddyupp!
Monica McCarty is a new to be author and I’m glad I took a chance on Going Dark because it is a strong set up for a series. Her writing style flows pretty well. The word ‘but’ is used. A lot. The translations of English idioms was unnecessary for me and the whole thing *hopefully* got a proof before it was published, but the story is engaging and held my attention.
SEAL Team 9 is sabotaged on a mission in Russia and wind up losing over half their platoon. The rest scatter, “going dark” presumably all over the world with minimal contact with each other. The overarching story arc linking the books is figuring out who the leak(s) is and what their motivation was.
Senior Chief Dean Baylor is our first SEAL. Known as Dan the scruffy charter boat Captain in the Scottish Isles. An alpha with a capital A, plainspoken, gruff, Texan and a Big Un. *growls* Part of his being a SEAL is traveling light, so he’s perfected the art of wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am.
Annie is an idealistic environmental scientist fresh off obtaining her Ph.D. and she’s come to the Scottish Isles to protest offshore drilling with Julien, her French boyfriend WHO LOOKS LIKE OLIVIER MARTINEZ!!!. *dies* Initially I thought we were going down ‘comparison highway’ wherein Annie would compare her boyfriend to death and come realize he didn’t stack up against Hotty McHotterseal which isn’t something I’m real fond of. Thankfully we avoided that car crash.
Stuff happens and they end up in a dinghy together, something I still contend was a bad call but I understand if it had gone the other way-the smart way-the whole narrative would’ve been dead in the water. I get it. But still. Dumb.
They’re on the run together which ratchets up the chemistry and tension to eleventy kagrillion degrees despite Annie’s protestations regarding alphas. Surprisingly there wasn’t a lot of hibbity-gibbity which was kind of disappointing given the page count. However they did manage to never use a condom. The stupidity of this is… *siiiiiiiiggghhhh* Why people? Whhhhhhyyyyyy?
Anyways, my disappointment in grown adults not having the conversion beforehand notwithstanding I liked these characters. Both are well constructed and strongly fleshed out. I particularly liked the big tough SEAL having substantial knowledge of Disney movies and the opposites attract trope was executed well. Even though they are opposites they respect the other’s opinion, play off each other well, manage to have moments of levity and McCarty did a great job of showing their emotional investment in the other by using dual POVs.
Now, hang tight I’m going somewhere with this. So I had a conversation about romance as a genre and she said what puts her off about it is how everyone is so breathtakingly beautiful to which I said, ‘not always but I see what you’re saying’. Then I went on to say that I think oftentimes it’s realistic in that everyone has their “type” be it gingers, beefcakes, Asians, Tom Hardy, whatever. So one person’s ‘meh’ is another person’s ‘my underwear just combusted’. I’m not sure I won the argument but there was a meaningful pause and some nodding so perhaps. At any rate, I say all this because the beauty thing skirted the line betwixt our opposing sides. I get that they are attracted to each other, but I think the physical aspects of how attractive they are was heavy handed.
Another thing I wasn’t crazy about was the push/pull between them. Dean’s reasons for pushing her away are sound, but Annie’s were weaksauce. Both played games and I’m not a fan of that, though Annie does get points for being straight with him at the end.
There was a good balance struck between the romance and the adventure, though the last “big gesture” was unforgivably stupid. Don’t get me wrong, it was romantic and dramatic but… oh my sweet lord. *face palm* HOW? How does one forget that? Someone trained and seasoned????
A word of caution, the SEAL/military-speak is heavy. It’s evident a substantial amount of research was done on the military, environmental statistics and science all of which I appreciated and served to make these characters more credible, in my opinion.
I’m not sure I’m up for the entire series but I’m definitely interested in the next one and would recommend this to romantic suspense fans.