Loose Ends (Jennifer Haynie) – Review

4 stars

~ About the Book ~

Hot off her first mission as a Unit 28 contractor agent, Alex Thornton wants nothing more than to focus on building a life with Jabir al-Omri, her best friend and boyfriend of five months.

A secret chains Jabir, one with such dire consequences that seeking freedom from it will cost him dearly. He finds himself caught between honoring those he cares about and being completely truthful with Alex.

Hashim al-Hassan craves vengeance against the woman who deceived him ten years before. The target of his wrath? Alex.

When Alex and Jabir receive an assignment to find the murderers of a shipping executive, their investigation brings them to the attention of Hashim. He begins stalking her. The bodies pile up, and people disappear.

Now, with Alex squarely within Hashim’s crosshairs, Jabir yearns to tell her what he knows. Yet the truth may destroy both her and those she loves the most.

Series:  #2 Unit 28
Genre:  Romantic Suspense
Release date:  6 March 2018
Pages:  347
Publisher:  Independent

Amazon US  //  Amazon AU  //  iBooks  //  Goodreads

~ Excerpt ~

“Some interesting news.” Tarek’s voice remained hushed as if he didn’t want to waken his cousins—or maybe Leila. “Alex and Jabir are on their way to Beirut. They’re traveling as a honeymooning couple under the aliases Allie and Jamal Malek.”
Hashim’s heart pounded, and it had nothing to do with the enormous amount of weight he’d just lifted. “And you found this out how?”
“I have my ways.” His brother almost purred.
Yes, he’d taken Leila as his mistress. What a treasure trove of information. Most likely, she’d been the one to reveal the aliases.
Hashim’s mind began spinning. So the vixen was coming to Beirut. “Do you know where they are staying?”
“No. That was not available. I do know they are due to land in Beirut around 4:30 this afternoon your time. Think about it, brother. Where would you stay if you were coming to Beirut for a honeymoon?”
His mind flashed to many years before when he’d been oh-so-briefly married. He’d dreamed of that day with Marie—and of planning a life with her. Ashes now. Not worth any more grief. He’d already done that years before and taken the necessary revenge—at least in that matter. Now, he wanted the vixen. “I will figure it out.”
“I know you will.”
Over the past couple of days, he’d planned the kidnapping to perfection. It’d go off just like when he’d taken a Mossad operative years before. First, he’d have to deal with her lover. That would be easy. When the cops found his body, they’d play it off like a kidnapping gone wrong. And the vixen? Laundry carts did wonders to hide someone when they were unconscious. All it would take would be a little money to—
“You are not to take Alex. Do you understand me?”
A mind reader, that brother of his.
He slammed his fist onto his thigh. “I have the opportunity!”
“I know you do. Which is why I said something.” Condescension, exactly as if Tarek were correcting an errant schoolboy. It did nothing to soothe Hashim’s slowly building rage. “Not until we have taken care of Shafiq. Go to their room. Plant a bug in it. Perhaps we will learn of his location. And follow them.”
No problem there. He needed to complete his wall with photos of the vixen.
“Let me know what you find.”
Silence filled the air. Tarek had already broken contact.

~ Review ~

This follow-up to Panama Deception is another suspense-filled minefield of secrets, covert operators, and one seriously obsessed bad guy who’s determined to get his revenge on Alex. And Alex doesn’t even know the half of it yet! It’s gritter than a lot of Christian romantic suspense—these bad guys are pretty ruthless, and we’re in Hashim’s point of view at times—but it also makes for some intense suspense, especially in the second half of the novel. The romance is also a little different, since Alex and Jabir are already a couple, but that brings it’s own tension with the secret Jabir’s tied to and their commitment to honouring their pre-marriage boundaries.

Although you could read Loose Ends as a stand-alone, you will definitely have a fuller picture of the relationships in play if you have read Panama Deception first. I won’t reveal what knowledge is being kept from Alex for the sake of those who have not read Panama Deception, but suffice it to say, it’s an emotionally charged secret that complicates their mission. In fact, that was one of the things I enjoyed about this book—that the relationship tensions (and not only romantic) were just as much a factor as the physical suspense.

There is a second, but closely related thread to this story told through the point of view of ‘Tiny’, Alex and Jabir’s boss, and Isa Haswi, one of the permanent Unit 28 members. They’re covertly investigating Leila al-Kadir, an Interpol agent who’s made some suspect decisions related to events that occurred at the end of Panama Deception. This meant there was a total of five different characters sharing the narration of the story, and while I thought it worked well for the most part (and definitely added to the suspense), I occasionally felt as though Isa was a little short-changed as a character. We didn’t get to know him very well beyond his job, and although there were hints as to a relationship that might develop, we didn’t really get to see this happen.

That said, this was a great read with a particularly action-packed ending. If it’s high-stakes suspense you’re after, this is definitely an author worth checking out.

I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

~ Previous Books in Series ~

~ About the Author ~

Jennifer HaynieI’d like to introduce myself. I’m Jennifer Haynie, worker at the Division of Water Infrastructure at the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources by day, novelist by night. I’ve learned quite a bit over the years, not just in the craft of writing, but how to balance my day job, my passion for writing, my marriage, and a healthy social life. Sometimes it feels like walking on a knife’s edge.

On-the-edge suspense. On-the-edge living. I write about both of these on my website, http://www.jenniferhaynie.com. While I’ve enjoyed blogging, writing novels is my passion.

I’ve decided that I never take the easy route in things, especially when it comes to writing. As a child, I was a numbers person with mathematics as my favorite subject. In high school, I began writing, even winning a prize for a short story I wrote. Still, numbers and science called me. Rather than take the typical writer’s route of majoring in English, I majored in physics, then proceeded to graduate school in environmental management. During the twists and turns of job changes, writing became one of the constants in my life along with my faith.

One of my author friends told me that a novelist usually has to write about a million words before they get published. I have to agree with her. The vast majority of those words are locked away, never to be consumed by others. But the novel that contains probably my millionth word is the one that got published.

Since then, my life has taken more twists and turns as I’ve continued to learn the craft of writing and develop this gift God gave me. So far, I’ve published one novel, Exiled Heart, through a publisher, and the second one, Hunter Hunted, via indie publishing. I hope that these two are the start of many more via both routes.

I hope that my writing will speak to you and that you will learn something not only about your characters but about life as well.

Connect with Jennifer:  Website  //  Facebook  //  Twitter  //  Pinterest

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About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
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2 Responses to Loose Ends (Jennifer Haynie) – Review

  1. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday – My Spring (which would be Autumn) TBR | Fiction Aficionado

  2. Pingback: Interview with Jennifer Haynie | Fiction Aficionado

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