Book Critique - Toxic Game (Ghostwalker Novel #15)
For review of all books under Ghostwalker series: Go here.
Stars: 3.5 / 5
Recommendation: A world melded in experiments involving genetics, technology and DNA for these brave GhostWalker Men and Women, who while fighting their enemies, find love and family in each other. A series to give the readers an uplift when needed.
Toxic Game is the fifteenth book in the GhostWalker Series by Christine Feehan published in March of 2019. The central plot revolves around Dr. Draden "Sandman" Freeman - member of GhostWalker Team Four, the Air Force Pararescue team - and Shylah "Peony" Cosmos - one of the orphan girls from Dr. Whitney's Group Four.
GhostWalkers are a group of men and women who have enhanced psychic and physical abilities including with genetic modifications, using human, plant and animal genes, as part of Dr. Peter Whitney's forbidden experiments. There four teams of GhostWalker Men serving in various areas of law enforcement and armed forces and four groups of Orphan Girls experimented by Dr. Whitney. He has paired each of his GhostWalker men with the women in the hopes to breed the next generation of GhostWalkers. 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.
Since Shadow Game, Dr. Lily Whitney-Miller and her husband Captain Ryland "King" Miller - head of Team One - along with the remaining three teams, strive to find all the Orphan Girls that Whitney had experimented on and held in various labs, rescue them and provide safe haven. So far they have found Dahlia Le Blanc, Iris "Flame" Johnson, Briony "Bri" Jenkins, Marigold "Mari" Smith, Saber Wynter, Tansy Meadows, Rose Patterson, Azamie "Thorn" Yoshiie, La Poirve "Pepper", Cayenne, Bellisia "Bella" Adams and Zara Hightower. The stories in the series follow these men and women.
Draden "Sandman" Freeman was introduced to us in Viper Game, and he has been a consistent presence since then. In Power Game, Bellisia keeps wanting her two sisters of heart from the facility they were held in, also to have the same kind of life that she is having with Ezekiel. Since we saw Zara's story in Covert Game, I had guessed that Shylah's story would come soon. Also in Covert Game it was hinted that Shylah perhaps was in Cheng's den as well running a covert mission for Whitney. And now we have the story of Draden and Shylah.
Draden gets injected with a hemorrhagic virus while on a rescue mission in deep Indonesian jungle. And accidentally Shylah Cosmos gets infected from Draden. Now they quarantine themselves to avoid spreading the virus to anyone else, while Draden's team try to find a vaccine. With death on their heads hardly days away, Draden and Shylah find comfort in each other, humor in their moments even though they have to hunt the terrorists behind the virus, and eventually find forever love. Will that forever be a few days or all their life?
I am glad Christine gave Draden such fun-loving spirit as his mate. For someone who had no trust in anyone, always saw the world with suspicious eyes, Shylah most certainly comes with a far-more fun in her life despite the horrid environment she grew up in.
Draden and Shylah live in a fairytale bubble for most part of the plot, where they find, humor, love and life. Though some places it was a bit drag, the story still filled my heart as a reader. Specially the wedding scene, it gave me buckets and buckets of happy tears. I was rooting for both of them through all the pages.
One thing I saw with Christine's erotic scenes that she spins around her lead characters. With so many book and various series that she has, some of the scenes seem to get repeated, similar in setting, perhaps a few minor details varied, but the actual sexual scene is very repeating.
Christine dedicates this book to Shylah. I think I met her when I met Christine back in 2016. Fail to remember if she was Christine's niece or grand-daughter.
She also has GhostWalker Creed along with the detailed explanation of the GhostWalker Symbol in the beginning of the book.
There must have been tremendous amount of research on Christine's part, given with the details that she provides regarding various kinds of viruses, effects of hemorrhagic viruses, the effort to discover a vaccine. She did manage to simplify the process and jargon, but there were one or two places that the explanation went over my head and I had to read twice to understand. Impressive feat!
The plethora of enemies that the GhostWalkers are facing is increasing in every book. Though she eliminates one in this plot, more keep growing like a Hydra's head. Where the series will lead and what is in store for these brave men and women, that very idea does increase the reader's anticipation with every book.
Action-packed with elements of love, sex and family values; embedded inside a world of genetics, DNA, viruses and vaccines is what this next installment in Christine Feehan's book in the GhostWalker Series is all about. Entertaining at the same time giving you shudders at the gorier parts, yet luring the readers once again into the world of GhostWalkers for a very adventurous ride. If you take it, don’t fail to enjoy it.
1. Plot Reveals:
a. Since Spider Game, it was a toss-up on if Cayenne was pregnant or not. Christine clarified it in this book that she is indeed pregnant.
b. Shylah creates a series of pancakes with dragons, shield and words written on them. I wondered how she made them, although Christine mentioned that Shylah made molds with metal for that. But then when I googled, I found a whole lot of pancake art out in the world. Must try this some day.
c. Although Christine mis-quoted that one of the GhostWalker team was living in Wyoming in Ruthless Game, it is clear in this plot that both Team One and Team Two are living in the mountains of Montana.
d. GhostWalker Team Two was sent out a mission at the same as Team One in Samurai Game. I wondered if Christine would pick that up for a story of Team Two in future. But it has become clear that all the four Teams are actively deployed on missions. So Team Two story whenever it happens will happen wherever Christine wants it stemmed from.
e. A portion of the hemorrhagic virus still exists with Whitney.
f. Malachai seems to be rising and I have a feeling that Christine will pen her next story around him.
a. In Ruthless Game, Fargo, super soldier in Whitney's breeding program was paired with an orphan girl who tried to kill him. Who is she?
b. In Viper Game Pepper was trained with five other girls for ten years in a facility as soldiers. Who are those five other girls?
c. We don’t see anything about the last two brothers of the Fontenots so far. Will they appear anytime soon?
d. Since Spider Game, Cayenne indicates two labs and Violet indicated six more labs with women for Whitney's breeding program or experimenting on Super Soldiers.
e. In Power Game, Team Four is unable to acquire a piece of land and Joe is obsessed with that.
f. GhostWalker Team One, Army Rangers and Green Berets; introduced in Shadow Game - under direct command of General Theodore Ranier. Based in the mountains of Montana along-side Team Two since Predatory Game.
i. Captain Ryland "King" Miller - Leader; marries Lily Whitney, in Shadow Game They have a boy - Daniel Ryland Miller - in Predatory Game.
ii. Kadan "Bishop" Montague, second-in-command; marries Tansy Meadows in Murder Game
iii. Nicolas "Nico" Trevane - marries Dahlia Le Blanc in Mind Game.
iv. Raoul "Gator" Fontenot - marries Iris "Flame" Johnson in Night Game.
v. Sam "Knight" Johnson - marries Azami "Thorn" Yoshiie in Samurai Game.
vi. Members: Jeff Hollister; Ian McGillicuddy; Tucker Addison; Jonas "Smoke" Harper; Kyle "Ratchet" Forbes; Tom "Shark" Delaney, Sr. (wrongly enhanced and thrown away, rescued by Kadan in Murder Game).
g. GhostWalker Team Two, Paramilitary Ghostwalkers (Navy SEALs) working with NCIS; introduced in Mind Game; under direct command of Rear Admiral Frank Henderson. Based in the mountains of Montana along-side Team Two since Predatory Game.
i. Logan "Max" Maxwell - Leader
ii. Jack Norton, older Norton Twins; marries Briony "Bri" Jenkins in Conspiracy Game; have twins, Jeremiah Ken Norton and Noah Jack Norton, as of Ruthless Game.
iii. Ken Norton, the second Norton Twin; marries Marigold "Mari" Smith in Deadly Game. Mari is pregnant with twins as of Samurai Game.
iv. Jesse "Jess" Calhoun - marries Saber Wynter in Predatory Game.
v. Members: Martin Howard; Neil Campbell; Trace Aikens; Antonio Martinez (first introduced in Street Game)
vi. In Mind Game, Christine had introduced Todd Aikens. In Deadly Game, she names another one Trace Aikens. Is he Todd or Trace? Or are there both Todd and Trace?
h. GhostWalker Team Three: Marine Force Recon Urban Warfare; introduced in Predatory Game; under direct command of Sergeant Major Theodore Griffen. Based in San Francisco as of Ruthless Game, formed of 9 men and 2 women who grew up together, joined by a newbie now.
i. Mack "Top" McKinley - Leader; marries Jaimie Fielding, one of the girls in their group, in Street Game
ii. Kane Cannon - second-in-command; marries Rose Patterson in Ruthless Game. They have a baby boy, Sebastian Kane Cannon, in that plot.
iii. Members: Javier Enderman; Gideon Carpenter; Brian Hutton; Jacob Princeton; Ethan Myers; Marc Lands; Lucas Atherton; Rhianna "Rhee" Bonds; newbie Paul Mangan.
iv. Brian Hutton, introduced in Predatory Game had been interested romantically in Patsy Calhoun, Jesse Calhoun's - Team Two - sister. Is he paired with Patsy? But Patsy isn't a GhostWalker? Or is she?
v. Javier and Rhianna seem to have a history between them.
i. GhostWalker Team Four: Air Force Pararescue Special Forces; first mentioned in Predatory Game; based in Louisiana bayous around Gator and Wyatt's home in New Orleans. Under direct command of Major General Tennessee Milton.
i. Joe Spagnola - Leader; Although paired with Violet, now that she is dead, and that Shylah is also married to Draden, towards whom he had shown brief interest, I am curious who will be his heroine. I hope someone really worthy and making his plot beating all the plots out there, for Joe is so much more and deserves it.
ii. Wyatt Fontenot - Raoul's brother; marries Pepper in Viper Game; biological parents of identical triplets produced in-vitro by Whitney - Ginger, Thym, Cannelle "Elle"; they have twin girls in this plot.
iii. Trap Dawkins - marries Cayenne in Spider Game. She is pregnant since end of that plot.
iv. Dr. Ezekiel "Zeke" "Hunter" Fortunes - oldest of the Fortunes brothers; marries Bellisia "Bella" Adams in Power Game
v. Gino "Phantom" Mazza - marries Zara Hightower in Covert Game
vi. Members: Malichai Fortunes; Mordichai Fortunes; Diego Campo; Rubin Campo; Gerald Perkins & Adam Cox (Bellisia's handlers, defect Whitney and join Team Four as of Power Game)
vii. Others: Diego and Rubin have one sister, Star, who had joined the nuns after the tragedy that befell their family; Daryl Monroe (Trap's assistant).
j. Group One of Whitney's Orphans: Twelve orphan girls he experimented on. Introduced in Shadow Game.
i. Lily Whitney-Miller, adopted by Whitney; Dahlia Le Blanc; Iris "Flame" Johnson; Briony "Bri" Jenkins; Marigold "Mari" Smith; Tansy Meadows; Rose Patterson; Jonquille; Laurel; Camellia "Cami"; Ivy (supposedly killed by Whitney)
ii. Cami and two others escape the breeding facility along with Mari and Rose and get separated. Mari and Rose's stories have been told. Now waiting for the others to speak.
k. Group Two of Whitney's Orphans: introduced in Predatory Game. Saber Wynter; Azami "Thorn" Yoshiie.
l. Group Three of Whitney's Orphans: introduced in Viper Game; considered rejects by Whitney; Le Poivre "Pepper" and her triplets - Ginger, Thym and Cannelle "Elle"; Cayenne
m. Group Four of Whitney's Orphans: introduced in Power Game; seven remain - Bellisia "Bella" Adams; Zara Hightower; Shylah "Peony" Cosmos; Scarlet; Blue; Cat; Amaryllis.
n. Whitney's various experiments 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 with his super soldiers created using rejected psychic candidates; injecting with Zenith, a fast-healing medicine but with serious repercussions; experimenting with animal genes and DNA; zombie soldiers with a bonish exoskeleton.
o. GhostWalker's enemies who are becoming more and more dangerous:
i. Whitney's allies in his devious plots - Jacob Abrams, a loaded banker, and Senator Freeman's father, Andrew Freeman.
ii. Consortium / The World Alliance - formed of five fanatics from across the world, who want to eliminate the GhostWalkers with animal DNA, formed prior to Violet's death; Calvin Montgomery in Mississippi; Bernard Lee Cheng - billionaire of The Cheng Company, a notorious and paranoid criminal; Senator Crane from Mississippi; Senator Delgato from Florida; Senator Jenson from California; General Ivan Newman - Air Force's military service chief. I am getting six people, Christine mentioned five in this book. Have to wait and see who all will unfold eventually.
3. Grammatical / Character / Location / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:
a. On Pg. 17, Christine mentions that there are only 500 Sumatran tigers left in the world. On Pg. 146 and Pg. 161, Christine mentions as only 400 of these tigers left in the world.
b. On Pg. 353, Line 8, shouldn’t it be "…it was also the…"