Victoria Asher, 20, leads an uneventful life in Miami, working at a diner and celebrating her birthday eating pie and ice cream with her best friend—but when she receives an ominous package from her brother, Gil, her entire world shifts.
The young white woman immediately flies to Italy, where Gil was supposed to be on a research trip. In her search for him, Vic becomes embroiled in a mission with Rogue-14, a secret branch of INTERPOL led by the charming Ian Hale, a white Brit. Vic adapts to gunfights and espionage too quickly for credibility, and, for a group of elite secret agents, the team embraces her surprisingly quickly, welcoming her to the fold without many questions. Still, the characters’ skills and personalities play well against each other. Vic’s incredible talent for observation is invaluable as she helps R-14 catch the criminals her brother was investigating. The dialogue becomes quite expository when characters uncover clues or reveal back stories, but otherwise the pacing will pull readers along. An ill-conceived joke about gender reassignment mars the otherwise genial and quick-witted tone of the book.
This fast-paced spy novel has just the right amount of international intrigue and danger; a touch of romance is a sweet bonus. (Thriller. 16 & up)