Hawken continues the exploits of Camaro Espinoza, a tough female former Army medic, in this shoot-'em-up, action-packed installment set in the sleepy communities that ring Los Angeles.
Camaro’s younger sister, Annabel, has finally broken free of her abusive boyfriend, Jake Collier, but she can’t get him to leave. She talks her sister into coming to her aid, but while Camaro’s straightening him out, Jake’s big brother, Lukas, is busy murdering the bail bondsman who tried to take him into custody in Denver. Meanwhile, Camaro faces off with Jake at his job in a local lumberyard and things don’t go down well for him. As Lukas works his way closer to California to finalize a scheme with his brother, he drags behind him a trail of people set on revenge, including Yates, the father of the bail bondsman he killed, and Way, a deputy U.S. marshal whose partner he murdered. As Camaro seeks to protect her sister, Way and Yates find themselves on opposite sides of Camaro’s cooperation even though all three of them seek the same resolution. Plenty of guns and fisticuffs, as well as a twisty trail to follow, fill this action enthusiast’s tale. And Hawken certainly knows how to keep the action going: Camaro goes from scrape to scrape with barely enough time to treat her own wounds and regroup before the next ambush or assault. But while Hawken writes excellent action/adventure, where he falls down is in bringing his characters to life. Camaro is basically a man with breasts: there's nothing about her that feels female (although her sister is as domestic as Betty Crocker). The bad guys—Lukas the killer and Way the deputy U.S. marshal—are so deranged they devolve into caricatures. Only Yates, the old man whose son has died, resonates as a human being.
While action’s fine when it’s plentiful, more attention to character development could have made Camaro more relatable and provided both villains with some badly needed dimension.