Review: Playing Dirty (Bad Boys Undercover #1) by HelenKay Dimon

January 23, 2015 Review 0

Review:  Playing Dirty (Bad Boys Undercover #1) by HelenKay Dimon

As an elite Alliance agent—the joint undercover operation of MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service, and the CIA—Ford Decker lives for the adrenaline. But when he befriends sexy property manager Shay Alexander in hopes of finding her cousin, a known national security threat, Ford crosses the line, getting to know her better . . . in bed.

After being burned by her last relationship, Shay wants to take things slow. Yet she can't keep her hands off the drop-dead gorgeous hottie who's moved into her apartment building. So when Ford's identity as an undercover agent is exposed, his betrayal cuts deep. Shay never wants to see him again, but Ford can't let her go, not when her life is still in danger. He will sacrifice everything to protect her, then be prepared to walk away from the only woman he's ever loved, even if it breaks him.

Title: Playing Dirty
Author: HelenKay Dimon
Other books by this author that we've reviewed: Stranded, Mr. and Mr. Smith, The Talented Mr. Rivers, The Fixer
Series: Bad Boys Undercover #1
Published by Avon
Source: Publisher
Published: January 27, 2015
Genres: Erotic Romance, Suspense
Pages: 384
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Amazon
Visit the Author's Website

Stars: two-half-stars
Flames: four-flames

Black ops type stories can be so hit or miss for me.  Sometimes, I get pulled into the story and can’t leave.  Other times, it is a struggle to finish.  Unfortunately, Playing Dirty falls into the struggle category for me.  I did finish it, and I will admit, the second half of the book read a bit better than the first half.  But, overall, I didn’t care for it.

The characters were kind of developed – eventually.  Details were dribbled out at odd times.  I could understand it for Ford.  He was the Black Ops agent on an undercover assignment.  But Shay?  She was just the “collateral” or “mark” or “asset.”  Whatever term they wanted to use at the moment.  Shay managed the apartment building they lived in for her uncle.  (Ford lived across the hall from her.)  She was the cousin of the guy Ford was looking for, but that took several (For me that means more than three.) chapters before that was mentioned. Shay’s family background was left just as mysterious as Ford’s.  That may have been a plot device to leave us wondering if she was a good guy or a bad guy.  I just found it confusing.

I mention that, to me, several is more than three because early in the book there was that issue.  One of them discussed having known each other only three weeks before they fell into bed.  The other discussed it as being several weeks.  It brought up the question of continuity for me.  Just my opinion, but three would be “few.”  Several is more than that.

The plot?  I thought it was convoluted.  It jumped around too much.  Did not flow well.  One chapter the Black Ops team was storming a position, the next Ford and Shay were getting it on.  This happened throughout the book.  Every other chapter featured Ford and Shay and they were usually having sex.   I didn’t find that the sex added to the story at all.  In fact, it was mostly just distracting.

As for the “operation” that was supposed to be happening, I guess it didn’t help that they had a mole mucking up things, but really?  These guys seemed to get nowhere.  They were almost down to the wire before things came together, and then it was mostly luck.  These guys are supposed to be the best of the best at what they do.  One of the reasons that I don’t care for books like this is how an author will often have them chasing their tails and running around like Keystone cops to add greater conflict or word count to the story.  It irritates me.  This wasn’t as bad as some I have read, but the top bad guy was never caught and it took 350 pages to find the ones they did get.  This doesn’t really work for me when it’s supposed to be the best of the best.

This was an okay read.  I did finish it.  Many of you will absolutely love it.  There is action, suspense, and a romance.  It just wasn’t my cuppa.

Oh yes, some of you may have noticed, there is a prequel to this.  I have not read it and did not find that it was necessary.  The featured couple in the prequel featured heavily in Playing Dirty, but enough background was given to make Playing Dirty a viable stand-alone novel.

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