A farm girl enters a world of danger in Horne’s (Breaking Mobius, 2013) military thriller.
Eighteen-year-old Rain Wilson has lived a modest life fixing fences and driving a tractor on her father Tolley’s Colorado ranch ever since her mother, Dahlia, left more than a decade ago. But things change dramatically when she learns that her dad is a former special agent/sniper and her mother is an active operative who may have gone rogue in Russia. The “weasel-faced” CIA chief of staff Christopher Dalton, who has bad history with Tolley, tries to recruit him to find Dahlia. When he declines, Rain volunteers instead. Although she excels during her training, Dalton places her in the Army instead of the CIA; stationed in Baghdad, she becomes “battle buddies” with Sgt. Prescott Willow. After Rain saves Dalton’s life by killing an insurgent, she and Prescott steal the chief’s cellphone, hoping its contents will lead them to Dahlia. Instead, it puts them on the run from the CIA, and along the way, Rain falls for the sensual Prescott. Tolley swoops in to find his daughter, aided by his old team: tech guru Shanty, ponytailed “muscle” Mogli, and former Navy SEAL Black. Plenty of action ensues, and Rain transforms into a “blonde bombshell” who fills out a sequined dress nicely, becomes well-versed in espionage and torture, and learns that she can trust no one. The plot is exaggerated, yet fun in a Scandal sort of way. But as the implausible storyline moves swiftly from the Middle East to Russia to the United States, the dialogue can be over the top, as when Tolley says, “He seems like a good kid, minus the ties to the most deadly man in the world,” or Black says, “That would be the end of American society as we know it.” Although Horne works to make the characters here more three-dimensional with their back stories, they still seem trite; Rain’s transformation from a girl wearing yesterday’s laundry into a woman who puts “effort into her hair or makeup” particularly smacks of cliché.
A fast-moving tale of a spy who, much like the novel itself, is a little ragged around the edges.