Tuesday, April 17, 2012

REVIEW: The Spy Who Left Me by Gina Robinson

The Spy Who Left Me (Agent Ex, #1) The Spy Who Left Me by Gina Robinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

CAUTION: Long Review

The Spy Who Left Me begins with Treflee running into her estranged husband Ty at the Hawaiian hotel where he work. Treflee is on vacation with her cousin Carrie and her five bridesmaids which included Treflee, a vacation that was supposed to be Carrie’s wedding and honeymoon before Carrie dumped her fiancĂ© for cheating on her. Ty is on a spy mission working undercover with his partner Greg, a mission that was not supposed to include his divorce-demanding wife.

With less than 93,000 words and entirely set in in Hawaii, The Spy Who Left Me is about Treflee trying to divorce a husband who still loves her very much. The novel was low on angst, moderate on humor, moderate on action. There were many things going on.
All Ty had to do was avenge George Hsu, a fellow agent and friend who’d been murdered on assignment here in Hawaii. Follow Shen Lin, the little prick of a Fuk Ching Chinese crime gang member suspected of killing George on orders from the Revolutionary International Organization of Terrorists, or RIOT as they were commonly known in the espionage world. Hope Lin would provide him a way into Sugar Love Plantation, RIOT’s Hawaiian lair. Keep an eye on Hal Rogers, a Hawaiian-born CIA analyst and traitor who was planning to sell the top secret Pinpoint Project to RIOT. Complete George’s mission to stop RIOT from starting a war between China and the United States. And win back my angry wife’s love.
But, delightfully, it never got convoluted. It did, however, get implausible for a few times.

The Characters

+++ Treflee

Logically, Treflee should have returned home once she met and realized Ty was on a mission — a dangerous mission, no matter how much she needed him to sign the divorce papers. She should have returned after her first attack. She seriously should have returned after getting attacked three times in three days which through luck she survived all three with minor injuries.

Despite it all, I never labeled Treflee TSTL and that was probably because she was well aware of the danger and the poor decisions she made. The story being told in 3rd PoV from Treflee’s side helped me see why Treflee did what she did. And for the most part, Treflee was reasonable, even when readers learn of the secret she kept from Ty and how it made her unhappy with her marriage and persuaded her to divorce him.

My main complain about Treflee was that I wished she was more assertive in her divorce quest and more conscious of the reasons why she wanted to divorce Ty. Halfway through the story, Treflee reconnected with Ty and they spent the rest of the story in an affectionate mood only to be ruined several times by Ty and his spy job. I did not care much for that part of the story even thought it was sweet. I wish things were slightly more angsty, Treflee slightly more cold-shouldered against Ty.

+++ Ty

Occasionally, the story would be told in 3rd PoV from Ty's side. Ty was believable as a spy. He was competent at acting as a some smoothing talking tour guide, at quashing his wife’s plans to get leverage so she could coerced him to sign the divorce papers, at rescuing her when she unexpectedly got attacked, and at defusing spy situation when things took an unexpected turn. All except for two niggling implausible things which were 1) Ty was his real first name which made his alias imperfect and 2) he didn’t hesitate to use Treflee — a non-spy person — to help with his mission.

It did make some sense why Ty would allow Treflee to play a part his mission. Ty could keep an eye out on Treflee while working his spy job in one place, play a convincing lady’s man with Treflee as part of his cover, and convince her to not divorce him in the times she begrudgingly spent with him. However, he put Treflee at risk and though she was aware of the danger and knew a few spy things Treflee was not a spy. She was not a good liar. She was not a cop like Carrie or anything military like a few of Carrie’s bridesmaids. Treflee didn’t had a gun or even a taser — things Ty should have given Treflee to help defend herself.

I did not like Ty when he got mad after Treflee confessed her secret to him. Ty should have immediately consoled her like the victim she was. Fortunately, he got over his unappreciated anger quickly.

+++ Emmett

Emmett was Ty and Greg’s spy boss. Despite being mentioned a few times and having a total of two short scenes, Emmett got my attention because he was my least favorite character. Emmett was the one who recruited Ty who at the time was engaged to Treflee. Emmett should not have recruited Ty because single spies didn’t have loved ones that would make easy targets and easy distraction. A single spy wouldn’t have a family that would eventually loathe him for his long absences. “Emmett violated his own policy when he recruited Ty.”

Emmett played a big role for the problem between Ty and Treflee. The twist at the end, instead soothing me like it should have, the twist made me more set in my dislike for Emmett.

In Conclusion

Treflee was accurately as the novel described her. Ty convinced me that he really did love Treflee. The ending was sweet and slightly more compelling as a HEA than a HFN because of the climax. Quite the explosion the climax was, figuratively and literally. The sex content was mostly angst and flirting. The novel had only one explicit sex scene, occurring around 2/3 of the novel.

The Spy Who Left Me was mildly enjoyable, good for a light read. I rate the book 3-stars for I liked it.

The next book in the Agent Ex series will be about Greg whose real name is Drew and his estranged wife.

Amazon GoodReads

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