Fluharty’s latest romantic thriller (Rite of Revenge, 2011) is about a Navy SEAL who, while awaiting a meeting with the president, falls for a woman with a sordid history.
Cmdr. Zane Fox, ordered back to the States prior to a mission in “Jihadistan,” in the Middle East, stops a man from roughhousing Lenore, a high-class call girl. That man, Rodney David Minnock, happens to be a presidential adviser under investigation, and while Zane’s superiors are sure to keep their eyes on the SEAL, sparks fly between him and Lenore, who also happens to be his neighbor. But soon, mobster Joey Profitsano is looking for his employee, Lenore. Romance gets the preferential treatment in Fluharty’s novel. Suspense comes into play, however, when goons attack Zane and Lenore, but the bulk of the story revolves around the couple’s burgeoning relationship. It’s a little hard to believe the proclamations of love announced mere days after their first meeting, yet the two, both faced with personal choices, prove to be an even match: Lenore is worried about being accepted by the SEAL’s family and friends, and Zane considers retirement and wonders if he can leave his violent past behind. Fluharty fortifies his story by giving Profitsano even more reason to target Zane—the last resident in a condominium Profitsano wants for himself—and including a real-world connection via the SEAL’s forthcoming Bin Laden–related mission (hint: the story takes place in late April 2011). Some of the secondary characters fall prey to the spotlighted affair, most notably Secret Service Agent Emily Clark, who opens the story surveilling Minnock, but after requesting a meet with Zane to swap info, she audaciously flirts with the SEAL only to cry when he says he’s smitten with Lenore; eventually, she allows him to set her up with a friend and promptly disappears from the story. Others follow suit: The chief of staff is more interested in alone time with Zane, and the men generally admire Lenore only for her physical attributes. It’s refreshing when the baddies try to throw McKenna, Zane’s ex, into the mix and she proves too smart and capable to be outwitted.
Not much support from the cast of characters, but the dire circumstances shared by the two leads make for a gripping tale.