Review: WICKED LIES (Dark Mission novella) by Karina Cooper

WickedLIes-Cvr-186x300Title: Wicked Lies (Dark Mission Novella, #4.5)

Author: Karina Cooper 

Date of Publication: 3/5/2013

ISBN: 9780062126733 ASIN: B0092QPCXS

Pages: 112 

Formats available: e-book

Disclaimer: Book was provided by the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

Karina Cooper’s Dark Mission novels take place in a much darker, much harsher version of our world. With their already crazy lives turned on their proverbial heads, Parker, Silas, and the rest of the crew are scrambling to pull themselves together and keep their people safe. One of their people is Danny Granger, and Jonas is determined to bring him home.

WICKED LIES picks up the Dark Mission novels storyline in a bad place. I’m not much for graphic violence in a story, so the first few pages of this was really hard for me. Danny’s abuse while held at the Mission was detailed, and although I didn’t enjoy that part, I do think it was necessary to feel a little of the anger and helplessness that Jonas felt as he also watched, unable to stop it.

One of the things I love about Jonas is his ability to keep a cool head and a quick wit. That cool head, in the face of all that *could* go wrong, not only maneuvered Danny away from his captors, but the quick wit gave Danny something to smile about before he was even free. Danny’s confidence and determination were essential not only to escaping, but also in dealing with Jonas. The connection between the two was apparent from the beginning. More than just a man saved and his savior… their bond has more to do with their personalities, and how one is strong where the other is weak; making the whole better than the sum of it’s parts.

Considering that this IS a novella, I was a bit worried, honestly, about their relationship. Would we get enough of a buildup that it was believable and didn’t feel rushed? The answer was both yes and no. The relationship WAS rushed, but it was also believable, which is very hard to do. The circumstances were extreme, and the men involved were both strong willed and passionate. That combination created a spark that ignited in the best way. The only thing that bothered me was the “morning after regret” that tends to come in those situations. It makes me crazy, even though it may be realistic. I wish characters would just SAY what they want and mean, but it’s a losing battle on my part, lol. I knew it was coming, it made me mad, and then I got over it. But I did grrrrrrrrrr at one of the men for about a chapter or two. And thank GOODNESS for Naomi, is all I have to say, lol.

Overall, I loved the story. It’s, honestly, not much of a plot turner where the series storyline is concerned, but I AM curious how Jonas’ new relationship will change his attitude or personality in the next book. I don’t expect a whole different man, but I wonder how having someone in his life will affect him and his role on the team. Regardless, I CAN’T WAIT for the last book in the series… ONE FOR THE WICKED… available April 30.

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Thanks to Bewitching Book Tours, you can read a guest post from Karina about her choice to feature two human characters in this series full of witches HERE (includes contest information!) And below is an excerpt from the novella. Also, keep an eye out in the next few days for my interview with “Jonas” and “Danny” for a chance to win a copy of WICKED LIES!

Excerpt

Dedication:

For my Uncle Stephen. You were the first man in my life who bravely came out to me, and who paved the way for me to be myself. I loved you so much before, and I love you just as much now.

You are my inspiration.

And for every gay, lesbian, bi-, trans-, queer, and questioning youth out there. Life can be hard, sometimes it can get mean. There will be days when you feel like it’s impossible, but I want you to know that there are people like me out here who support you. I promise : it gets better.

Chapter One

A blue-white light flickered in the dark. Sparks glinted off the tool racks bolted to the wall across the shadowed room, reflected from the metal braces left leaning against the desk. As silence—mind-numbingly loud, thick as water, and twice as hard to breathe—filled the narrow room, that blue-white light caught in the circular lenses of a pair of glasses and threw a glare across the screen.

Jonas Stone stirred. “It has to be now,” he said, his voice too loud in the oppressive weight of the shadows behind him. He couldn’t look away from the feed spilling its incandescent glow over his desk, his keyboard.

His conscience.

Because the man framed in that digital feed—the kid strapped to the chair dead center of the surveillance footage—wasn’t the first suspected heretic to sit there. To sweat there.

To bleed.

“Be sure, Jonas. We get one shot at this.”

His brain wanted to look at the comm unit beside his left hand. His body refused to obey, every cell focused on the prisoner’s dark, drooping head. Scarred fingers twitched, knuckles whitening, and Jonas frowned as he realized his right hand had closed into a painful fist.

It had to be now. The kid wouldn’t last much longer.

“There’s no alternative,” he replied. “We’re not going to get another opening soon enough to .” He hesitated.

The voice over the comm link didn’t waver. Not even a fracture. “Soon enough to save him.”

Only through recent experience did Jonas know that the raspy, lifetime-pack-a-day voice coming out of the secure line belonged to a woman named May. Leader of a rebellion that had saved Jonas’s life, and the perpetrator behind a string of hacking jobs that left Jonas seriously reconsidering a career shift before the Church had made that choice for him.

The fact that she was very, very good was all that kept him from throwing in the towel now.

But he’d never met her in person. Hell, he’d never met the prisoner now struggling to raise his head in Jonas’s feed, either. Instead, all he had was a picture in a box, a hacked security feed, and too many hours spent staring at the incandescent screen until his eyeballs throbbed and the vicious curl of helplessness inside him turned to a spiraling ache.

That boy didn’t belong in that kind of interrogation room.

A single light, faded blue, gleamed over shoulders broader than Jonas’s, but not by much. The prisoner was athletically lean where Jonas was simply skinny. The narrowly defined muscles of his chest were outlined by the stained remains of a thin, long-sleeve shirt.  Blood and sweat had turned it nearly brown. His slumped shoulders strained against the restraints confining him to the hard metal chair, a position not just awkward but painful as hell. Jonas hadn’t seen his face for over an hour.

He didn’t have to. He knew what he’d see when—if—the kid raised his chin again.

Blood caked into a ridged scab across the fine slash of his upper lip, under his broad nose and over a determinedly sculpted chin. He’d see the blackened stains of it dried into the man’s ears, blending into his dark brown hair. Even now, that greasy fringe flopped over his forehead, long since sweating off the gel that had held it into its fashionable spikes. The longest of the textured strands would slide into one swollen eye, if it ever opened again.

The prisoner had eyes the color of the computer-lit confines of the places Jonas preferred to inhabit. Almost black, even without pain stripping them to an endless void. When open, those eyes all but crackled with an intensity that could take a lesser man’s objectivity away in a single glance. Like a hungry kid or a kicked puppy.

Or a man on the edge of desperation.

Jonas’s chest kicked.

“Let me know when your people are ready.” He didn’t bother hiding the raw regret in his voice. He’d felt a lot of it, lately. After all, he used to be the man who helped put people into rooms just like that.

“Fine.” May’s voice cracked. Flattened. “I’m trusting you, Jonas.”

“I know.” They always did. “Let me try. I’m positive I can get him out. They won’t expect it this soon.”

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