by Dee Henderson
(Bethany House sent me this book for free, which has not in any way altered my review.)
So, for those of you who were following this blog last spring, you’ll recall that I read through Dee Henderson’s O’Malley series and really, really enjoyed it. They were suspenseful, had great character development, and allowed the “religious” aspect to flow in a way that was natural, unintrusive, and thought-provoking. This past winter, I read her Uncommon Heroes series. While I didn’t enjoy those as much, they were still decent reads, if a little shorter on plot and depth than the O’Malleys.
All that to say, I was pretty stoked when I got a free copy of Undetected, because I’m always up for a new Henderson. However, while this was a fine book, it was more in line with the Uncommon Heroes than the O’Malleys, leaving me feeling a bit meh about it overall.
Gina Gray, our heroine, is a genius – a legit, incredible, brilliantly intelligent genius. She and her brother, who is in the navy, are alone in the world, and some of her past projects have dealt with ways to make her brother’s life, on board a submarine, safer. At the beginning of this book, she’s off to her brother’s naval base to work on a new project, and recover from the sudden end of a two-year relationship. There, she meets up with Commander Mark Bishop – or rather re-meets up with, as she’s known him for years as her brother’s friend.
And basically, this book is kind of a romantic story with that military background, incredibly similar to the Uncommon Heroes books. I’m just not that into the military and I don’t tend to get all teary-eyed over it, so I think that this book, like the other series, loses some of its potential emotional impact for me. Gina asks her brother to help her find a nice guy to marry, basically, and her brother asks Mark if he’s interested, and Mark says no because he’s like ten years older than Gina, and a widower. (Gina’s almost 30, so it’s not like he’s some dude in his 30’s hitting on a girl just out of high school or something super creepy, just to clarify.) So her brother introduces her to this other guy, Daniel, who’s really interested in Gina and super, super nice. Meanwhile, Mark realizes that he actually IS interested in Gina, so he starts kinda making a move on her as well (but in a really gentlemanly kind of way). So this book ends up being a slightly irritating love triangle story, except a love triangle where everyone is incredibly nice and thoughtful and good at communication so like Daniel knows that Mark’s also interested in Gina and they agree to this kind of “may the best man win even if it isn’t either of us” sort of attitude and………..
I don’t know. I just couldn’t get into this story. There wasn’t a lot happening, and while all of the characters were nice, that’s about all they were. I didn’t feel this depth or character development coming from any of them, and in some ways I really felt like Mark was super pushy about wanting to marry Gina. Basically, he was like, “Hey, no pressure, but I’m a super awesome dude and I was a rockin’ husband before and I’ll be an amazing husband to you and we will deal fabulously so you know no pressure but” and it kind of got on my nerves. In the end, it felt like Gina made her own decision, but it all played out kind of weirdly to me.
In the end, this book was a solid 3/5. It was a fine read with a decent story, but none of the characters really spoke to me, and I felt like there wasn’t enough story to keep things moving. I read the book when I was reading it, but felt no yearning to return to it if I had to put it down. While I’m still planning to read what was apparently a first book in this series (? There’s a book about one of Mark’s brothers, and he has another one, so I’m guessing there will be at least one more book??), this really wasn’t a classic I want to read time and again.
I agree with basically everything you said – both with the O’Malley series and this book!
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