Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday Shorts: Friendly Fire by Megan Hart

In the mood for a tasty truffle?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story is like a single, exquisite truffle in the middle of a large, glittering, crystal platter. It's delicious, and if you only wanted a small bite of decadent chocolate, it would be perfect. But, seeing as the platter would easily hold a large chocolate torte, if you wanted a bit *more,* you might feel a bit frustrated. At 50 pages, this is short, even for a Novella, but it's also Hart, and she's an amazing talent. . The first 25 pages are rich with character and backstory-- Kendall and Zane are two FBI agents forced by the bureau to take R&R on a tropical retreat with other agents recovering from various bad on-the-job injuries and events. Kendall's and Zane's injuries are of the soul-shattering psychic kind: Kendall's partner was killed as part of a raid when he ran out from cover, colliding with a warning shot Zane had fired. Both parties feel incredible guilt, and Kendall blames Zane. The tension practically crawls off the pages. As we hit page 25 though, I started wailing, "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!" We can't be at the half-way point. The next 25 pages were a rush to cram in some hot lovin' and a HEA. All of which is well done. However, the characterization and conflict coupled with awesome writing would EASILY support a single title release that could burn up the Romantic Suspense charts. She released this story the first time in 2004, but she's re-edited it for Carina, and I dearly wish that she would have considered reworking this into a longer story. I suspect that she has different, but equally delicious treats baking for readers right now, and having fallen in love with her voice, I will happily consume whatever she delivers. If you are new to Hart, this would be an excellent introduction as it's spicy, but not as hot as some of her later works, and it shows off her writing chops in a nice little package. And if you're a fan of Hart, this is a nice way to bide time for her next ST release. However, I wonder if $2.99 for a 50 page story is a little high--this would be far more appetizing at .99 cents or 1.99--a more reasonable price for a tasty little truffle. If you see this offered for less than what B&N has it listed for, snatch it up!



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