Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Stars: 3.5 / 5
Ruthless Game is the ninth book in the Ghostwalker Series by Christine Feehan published in December of 2010. The plot is centered around Kane Cannon - second-in-command to Mack "Top" McKinley, leader of the GhostWalkers Team Three - and Rose Patterson - one of the orphan girls from Dr. Whitney's Group One whom he had put in his breeding program.
GhostWalkers are a group of women and men who are sent on special missions. They have enhances psychic and physical abilities along with genetic modifications, using in some cases not just human genes but all kinds of animal and plant genes. However every GhostWalker would need an "anchor" to draw back the psychic backlash, especially that would instigate violence. They are complex characters trying to live with their enhanced abilities and at the same time fight against the corrupt people around them, executing their missions successfully. So far we are introduced to two teams of GhostWalkers Men serving in various areas of law enforcement and armed forces and one group of Orphan Girls on whom Dr. Peter Whitney had experimented. He has paired each of his GhostWalker men with the women in the hopes to breed the next generation of GhostWalkers.
In Shadow Game we had seen that Dr. Lily Whitney-Miller, married to Captain Ryland "King" Miller - head of Team One - find the details of the Orphan Girls that Dr. Peter Whitney had experimented on along with Lily. Now adopted or held in a different lab or on their own or more girls added as years progressed, Lily and Ryland are determined to find those girls now women, rescue them and provide a safe haven. So far they have rescued Dahlia Le Blanc, Iris "Flame" Johnson, Briony "Bri" Jenkins, Marigld "Mari" Smith, Saber Wynter and Tansy Meadows.
We had met Rose for the first time in Deadly Game, in which we learn that Dr. Whitney had paired her with Kane in his breeding program to make super babies. At the end of that plot, with help from Team One, Team Two and Kane, the women in the facility escape. Rose gets separated from Kane in the process, and we also see that she is pregnant with their child.
Subsequently in Street Game, we meet Kane Cannon again, but we see more of him, get to know him better and understand his turmoil and guilt at him being a participant in the breeding program. We also know that the enemies of GhostWalkers are searching for those escaped girls from the breeding program facility and in particular they are looking for the one who is pregnant, Rose. Finally, now we get to hear the story of Kane and Rose.
Team Three is sent on a mission to rescue two hostages and their informant in the middle of the desert, only for Kane to encounter Rose Patterson, his lover whom he was paired with by Dr. Whitney as part of his breeding program, and whom he had been searching for since her escape from the facility. Kane is determined to take her to safety, his home with his family, while Rose is determined to not be part of him or anything to do with Dr. Whitney anymore.
Despite their different approaches, they are both thrown in together, once again, while finishing the rescue mission, and are stranded in the desert, facing unknown enemies, all the while looking for a way to escape. And the game turns as ruthless as Kane himself was, just as Rose had expected.
The plot is very intense, showing more and more dark side of Dr. Whitney along with similar others south of the border. It was slower at some places but overall Christine still managed to keep the momentum. The story-line, the imagination of what more new experiments one could see, the fights, the characters and the finale - all have a right place in the book.
Even in the second go round, I couldn’t get rid of the prickly feeling I got towards her character. In the beginning of the book, I could understand why she wasn’t trusting anyone in Kane's team, why she was reluctant to let go of her control or why she had forced him get rid of the tracker that could have helped his team come back for them. I felt it very hypocritical of her that she wanted Kane's help in getting to a safer location, wanted his team's help for protection, but didn’t want anything to do with him or his family, family that he trusted with life.
Despite their live being in danger due to her stupidity not to trust Kane's team, and even though his team risked their lives to rescue them, guard them all the time in their warehouse, and protect them, she doesn’t trust Kane's family until one of the team members gets almost killed. Was she so low a character that one of the team member had to almost lose her life for her to trust? Wasn’t Kane's love and the way his family always protected her meant anything to Rose?
That was what confused me a lot about Rose and made it hard to like her. However, the overall plot made up for it for me to continue the book.
There is repeat paraphrasing seen, which increases as the plot continues. Surprisingly, we find a few character and grammatical errors which is odd since Christine rarely has such errors. A good read all in all, despite not my favorite in the lot.
1) Plot Reveals:
b. GhostWalker Team One, Army Rangers and Army Green Berets; first introduced in the first book, Shadow Game - under direct command of General Theodore Ranier. They make their base in the mountains of Montana along-side Team Two as of Predatory Game.
c. GhostWalker Team Two, Paramilitary Ghostwalkers Team (Navy SEALs) working with NCIS; first introduced in the second book, Mind Game; under direct command of Rear Admiral Frank Henderson. They make their base in the mountains of Montana where Jack and Ken already reside as of Predatory Game.
d. GhostWalker Team Three: Marine Force Recon Urban Warfare Team; first introduced in Predatory Game; under direct command of Sergeant Major Theodore Griffen. 9 men and two women who grew up together to form a family by heart, joined by a newbie now. They make their base in San Francisco, around the warehouse that Jaimie already bought in Street Game, as of this plot.
e. GhostWalker Team Four: Air Force Pararescue Special Forces Team; first mentioned in Predatory Game; more revealed in Street Game where we meet Joe and hear about Malichai:
f. Group One of Dr. Peter Whitney's Orphans: Twelve orphan girls on whom he had conducted his experiments to make them psychically enhanced - Lily Whitney-Miller, the only girl he had adopted for himself; Dahlia Le Blanc; Iris "Flame" Johnson; Briony "Bri" Jenkins; Marigold "Mari" Smith; Tansy Meadows; Rose Patterson; Jonquille; Laurel; Camellia "Cami".
g. Group Two of Dr. Peter Whitney's Orphans: Fist introduced in Predatory Game. Not clear if they were part of the 12 original orphans he had or were added on later - Saber Wynter; Thorn. Unlike his first group, they are not named after flowers.
h. The Fontenot family is introduced in Night Game - Raoul's three brothers (Wyatt, ) and his grandmother, Nonny. Wyatt is shown to have romantic feelings towards the lost and found girl, Joy Chiasson.
i. Dr. Peter Whitney who thought be dead in the first book Shadow Game, is shown to be alive as of this plot with more devious plots in his mind. As the books progress, we see the various kinds of horrific experiments he had done on the GhostWalkers - tracking them with a computer chip in their body; pairing the Orphan girls not only with one of the four Ghostwalker teams, but his personal enhanced team that he created using the rejected psychic candidates as part of his breeding program; injecting them with Zenith, a fast-healing medicine but with serious repercussions. He is revealed to be psychic in Deadly Game.
j. Dr. Peter Whitney's allies in his devious plots are:
3) Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors: