Colton’s Deep Cover

Chloe Moreno has faked her own death and fled across the country to escape her abusive, sadistic husband, Dr. Felix Moreno–plastic surgeon to the stars. Under an assumed name, she has resumed her former profession as a nurse. At first, her only problem is her incredible attraction to her boss, Dr. Derek Colton. Then, she starts to get wedding momentos that make her wonder if her cover has been blown. Who can she turn to for help except Derek, whose mission in life is to rescue others?

Author Elle Kennedy mentions in her author’s note that it is difficult to write in a multi-author continuity because it is hard for her to write a story that she didn’t come up with. Unfortunately, this confession is apt: Colton’s Deep Cover is a decent book, but the characters lack fire and depth. It is as if Kennedy never truly connects with them.

Chloe–ten years Derek’s senior–has solved many problems. She is resourceful enough to fake her own death by flying her plane into the ocean, and she even creates a whole new identity. She does all this while carrying the baggage of an abusive marriage and the constant fear of being discovered. Chloe is fine as a heroine, and I respect her strength.

Like Chloe, Derek is burdened by the memories of a failed marriage. His bi-polar wife may or may not have committed suicide, and despite his sobriquet as “Mr. Perfect,” Derek doubts his ability to “make a woman happy.”

The nickname that Kennedy gives Derek (“Mr. Perfect”) points to one of Colton’s Deep Cover‘s worst flaws: the hero is too good to be true. Yes, heros in romances are often “too good to be true,” but in this case he crosses into the realm of being a “Gary Stu.” Aside from his reluctance to confess his feelings to Chloe, Derek is the best at everything. The best doctor. The best father-figure to his multiple younger siblings. The best patron of a home for underprivileged children. The best looking. Well, he’s just the best.

On the other side, Dr. Felix Moreno is the epitome of evil. He’s not only an arrogant bastard and an abuser. He’s also involved in some shady doings that connect to other books in the mini-series. Kennedy weaves the various stories together clumsily. I couldn’t buy how handy it was that Moreno is involved in both plots and conveniently visiting the East Coast in time to tie up loose ends (or plant the seeds for the next book).

Colton’s Deep Cover‘s story doesn’t inspire. Even the title is misleading. If anything, Kennedy’s book ought to be Chloe’s Deep Cover. She’s the one in hiding and she’s the one who engineered her clever escape. Although the scenes in which Chloe discovers “momentos” of her marriage are scary, they comprise only a small part of the 216 page book. The “suspense” is not as effective as in Colleen Thompson’s Passion to Protect. I think that the unbelievability of the hero and villain is to blame.

The sex scenes are few and far between and most occur “off screen.” Those that do (I can remember only one, but surely there were more!) don’t leave an impression. The reason I remember that one sex scene (and I read this book yesterday) is because it made me think “gee, that must be uncomfortable!”

What I do give credit to the author for is Derek’s sensitive handling of Chloe’s past. Unlike Jake in Passion to Protect, Derek understands the dynamics that keep women with abusive husbands and refrains from blaming the victim. I tip my hat to you, Ms. Kennedy.

I must concur with Kennedy’s author’s note. It is hard to write a story when you didn’t come up with it yourself. I think the book’s flaws all stem from the framework that was imposed on her. Too bad.

Considering how many stars Colton’s Deep Cover four other reviewers gave on Amazon, it would seem my indifference to Elle Kennedy’s book is not the norm. Perhaps my compass for contemporary romantic suspense novels is not the same as their usual audience’s. Nevertheless, I cannot recommend Colton’s Deep Cover.

It certainly doesn’t tempt me to read the other books in this mini-series.


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