Source- Review copy/ Allen & Unwin Australia
Synopsis: She was not an action woman: she could not run very fast; she favoured ballet slippers over combat boots, never swore and still suffered from nightmares; she did not enjoy confrontation of any kind. She was reluctant to face risk, and it was a quality that made her very good at her job. Her art lay in her ability to pass unnoticed, to slip in and out of the cracks of life, to be quietly invisible.
Aboard a luxury yacht as the minder of the world’s greatest-and most temperamental-opera star, Stevie Duveen manages to thwart a pirate attack off the coast of Somalia, but soon realises the attack is merely one salvo in a ruthless campaign of terror. Other vessels are being hijacked, and ransoms in the multimillions are being demanded as shipping lines and insurance companies run scared.
On the orders of her adored boss and mentor David Rice, Stevie flies to Sardinia’s idyllic Costa Smeralda to recuperate from her injuries. Soon, however, a favour for Rice sees her plunge back undercover: a threat assessment on the young son of Vaughan and Cl?mence Krok. At first the job seems simple enough, WC only Krok happens to run the world’s most powerful army of mercenaries . . .
Posing as just another jet-setting party girl on the lookout for a wealthy husband, Stevie cruises aboard the Kroks’ mega-yacht, Hercules, surrounded by arms dealers, aristocrats and billionaires. The action swings from the sun-kissed marinas of the Mediterranean to diva season in Venice, through the oilfields of Azerbaijan and on to the billionaires’ playgrounds of Spain, but Stevie soon uncovers more questions than answers: is the Kroks’ son really in danger? What secret deal is Krok brokering? How is he connected to the pirate scourge? And why is someone trying to kill her?
At her discreet and dangerous best, Stevie must fight to save everything she holds dear as she finds herself at the heart of a deadly double game.
Review: The Siren’s Sting is the sequel to the Stevie Duveen series and takes place about six months after The Troika Dolls left off.
The sequel certainly had a different feel to it that I can’t quite put my finger on. It could have been quite simply the different size of the book and print, that stopped me from engorging in the story as I did with The Troika Dolls but I think the cultural and emotional depth that was present in the first novel was not as prevalent in The Siren’s Sting. In the Troika Dolls I had better sense of all the characters but with The Siren’s Sting I felt a bit lost at times and couldn’t quite get the flow. It just didn’t have the same reading experience as the first book, although it was still enjoyable to become part of Stevie’s world again.
Stevie and Henning undoubtedly have chemistry and an underlying bond that Stevie is for the most part blinded to. It is becoming clear that Stevie is quite a sensitive creature who fears abandonment and to overcome this barrier she simply does not allow herself to become too close to anyone. She is a risk assessor by day and risk avoider when it comes to relationships.
As usual, Stevie takes on a relatively low-key job as assigned by her boss (and idol), David Rice only for it to become a much more complex and dangerous mission than expected. It is life or death for Stevie to solve this case whether David Rice likes it or not. It’s a story full of pirates, gun smuggling thieves and dangerous personalities whose world Stevie infiltrates easily.
I believe Miranda Darling is a skilful writer who creates intriguing characters and storylines full of drama and action. I look forward to reading more of this series but I’d like to see Stevie toughen up a bit more and take more risks. Stevie is slowly unravelling as a character and I think there is plenty of room for growth for her in the continuation of the series. I really recommend this series if you enjoy crime and romance and intelligent, interesting characters and adventurous storylines.
See my review for Troika Dolls here.
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