Man, I am so let down! I gave the previous book in April Hunt’s Steel Ops series five stars, but sadly, FATAL DECEPTION didn’t work for me. The plot follows a virologist heroine (yay, STEM heroines!) after her lab is broken into and bad guys steal a deadly virus – the hero is part of a team hired to get the virus back. I love romantic suspense novels, but amid all the COVID-19 craziness, the plot was really triggering for me. So, CW – pandemic? Yes, the plot is explained in the synopsis, but all the quarantine and isolation discussed in this book made me way sadder than I expected and took me out of the story.
In addition to the overarching plotline, the story felt disjointed. There were lots of unnecessary setting changes that didn’t add to my enjoyment of the story or the characters’ development. I mean, sure, the heroine going home to her grandfather’s ranch to warn him in person that bad guys are chasing her and might be chasing him too? That makes SO much sense. Plus, the messy dead fiancé angle made the plot much more convoluted than it needed to be. I probably could have gotten through those parts… except the last 10% ruined it for me. It felt completely unnecessary and made me sad and uncomfortable. I actively hated the turn the plot took. As I mentioned, I think my feelings were mainly situational-related, but I still loathed that part.
There were a few silver linings in the book. First, April Hunt is a good writer! I still really enjoy the cast of characters she has created within this series. The banter, danger, and jokes between the Ops guys remind me of Maya Banks’ KGI series (love!). I liked the hero’s irreverent friend and hope he gets a book!
Overall, the book was almost a complete bust for me, but I have high hopes for the rest of the series.
**I received a free copy of this book in order to provide an honest review**