Book Critique - Lethal Game (Ghostwalker Novel #16)
For review of all books under Ghostwalker series: Go here.
Stars: 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.
Lethal Game is the sixteenth book in the GhostWalker Series by Christine Feehan published in March of 2020. The central plot revolves around Malachai "Rubberman" Fortunes - member of GhostWalker Team Four, the Air Force Pararescue team - and Amaryllis Johnson - one of the orphan girls from Dr. Peter Whitney's Group Four.
GhostWalkers are a group of men and women who have enhanced psychic and physical abilities with genetic modifications, using human, plant and animal genes, as part of Dr. Peter Whitney's forbidden experiments. There are four teams of GhostWalkers 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 the very first book, the four GhostWalker 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, Zara Hightower and Shylah "Peony" Cosmos. The stories in the series follow these men and women.
Malichai Fortunes was introduced to us in the ninth book, Ruthless Game, and has been gradually growing on us. He is the brother of Ezekiel and Mordichai Fortunes. Since past couple of books he has been intent on framing an advertisement for the kind of girl he want for his wife. In the last plot, Toxic Game, it was evident that his character was growing.
And I am not surprised that Christine centered her next book around him, continuing with Team Four for now. She also is not completed with the Group Four orphans of Dr. Whitney as well. She brings Amaryllis into the loop, who was first mentioned in the 13th book, Power Game, and pairing her with Malichai. Now we take their exciting ride along.
Malichai gets injured on a mission and is forced to take a vacation. His GhostWalker family relegates him to a bed and breakfast in San Diego, CA. There he meets Amaryllis who gives of all the vibes that tells him that she is a GhostWalker too, but an untrained one.
Feehan made Malichai & Amaryllis story filled with fun and love amongst the chaos the GhostWalkers are usually thrown into, courtesy of Dr. Peter Whitney. The chemistry between the lead pair is definitely electric and sexual; but also humorous. They have a certain timing of comedy even in tight situations. To give you more tickles, she had her heroine read a romantic novel titled Toxic Game, which in real was the name of her previous book. :)
We also see a different side of Ezekiel Fortunes, oldest brother to Malichai and Mordichai in this book. He had been more of a father figure to his brothers and later on to the Campo brothers who join them. We see more of that role exposed in this plot. Along-side the brotherly camaraderie among them, we get shades of humor and laughter.
Again six months ago I got another opportunity to ask a question to Christine Feehan. Since past five books have been focused on Team Four, we kept meeting Wyatt Fontenot a lot. We also know she gave a story for the oldest Fontenot brother, Raoul "Gator" Fontenot, in the third book, Night Game, in 2005, as part of stories of Team One since Raoul belonged to that team. However, we never get to see the youngest Fontenot siblings - the two mysterious brothers whose names have also not been revealed. So I asked about them to Christine, asking if they would make an appearance anytime. Here is what she responded
I don't have any plans currently to include them. That doesn't mean it will never happen, just that I don't have plans for it right now. I have so many other characters from other teams who need their stories told.
With any of her books in the series, she shows coordination and team work within the team that she focuses the book on and when needed take aid from other three teams and see all of them in action. It's a choreography the way the teams function in their daily lives or when dealing with their enemies or going on a mission; seeing them in action in particular. It was a pleasure to see some of the characters from other teams - Jack Norton & Ken Norton from Team Two; very rare appearances from Team Three members Paul Mangan, Javier Enderman & Gideon Carpenter.
As I was reading the book I realized that Feehan has been focusing a lot on Rubin Campo other than the main lead characters. I figured that perhaps he would be her next novel based on. According to her blog post, the next book Lightning Game, is indeed centered on Rubin Campo. Since I am reading this book after the announcements (as I was waiting for the paperback release), my guess was a tad bit late.
When we first heard about Amaryllis in the thirteenth book, Power Game, in 2017, we were told that Amaryllis was part of the Group Four Orphans and grew-up along-side Bellisia, Zara and Shylah among others in Whitney's compound. So I expected a sort of reunion or a recognition scene when all four meet. Although Amaryllis meets only Bellisia and Shyalh, there is no scene penned for such a reunion by Feehan. I was looking forward to it so much all through the book, so was disappointed slightly to not see it. Perhaps something for next book?
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 and DNA; all the while fighting of Whitney's allies and enemies is what this next installment in Christine Feehan's book in the GhostWalker Series is all about. Despite the perils we see them facing, this is a very entertaining book with rainbow colored laughs and cries. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
1. Plot Reveals:
a. Soldiers Malichai and Rubin save - Jerry Lannis (has a wife Denise & two girls); Jack Torren; Barry Clarke; Tim Barrens; Braden O'Connell;
b. People at the Bed and Breakfast and around - Mrs. Marie Stubbins, owner, & her daughter Jacy; Dozer, a surfer; Burnell Strathom & Jay Carpenter, a gay couple; Craig Williams; Lorrie, Lexie & Linda Montclair; Stefani Charles; Miss Crystal who owns the Magic Shop;
c. Law Enforcement - Detective Brady; Detective Duncan;
d. Jacy is sick with an immunodeficiency disease. Marie & Jacy go to Nonny and their compound in New Orleans while the team fights the antagonists.
e. Perhaps a side plot between the following - Detective Duncan & Mrs. Stubbins; Craig & Lexie; Linda & Tania;
f. Malichai asks Marie to make an apron for him so he can help around at the Bed and Breakfast. We don’t see him getting in this plot.
g. Lantern International, an organization committed to work towards world peace - one from Texas; one from Hong Kong; one from India; one from Switzerland; one from Japan. I have a feeling Feehan is going to connect them to the Consortium eventually.
h. For some reason Amaryllis could not kill Owen Starks, but he is killed by Rubin. She was in a facility with five girls; same facility that Bellisia "Bella" Adams, Zara Hightower and Shylah "Peony" Cosmos came from. There were three more at the facility when Amaryllis escaped along with Silver and Coral. Are they Scarlet, Blue and Cat as mentioned in Power Game, the 13th book?
i. Feehan keeps telling that Rubin Campo from Team Four and Paul Mangan from Team Three are the only ones in the entire world who are psychic surgeons. However doesn’t Rose, wife of Kane Cannon, from Team Three also have a similar ability? I remember in their story, Ruthless Game, when Kane is shot, she psychically holds his veins and nerves to stop bleeding and heal him while help arrives. Isn't that what Rubin and Paul do?
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. 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.
d. In Power Game, Team Four is unable to acquire a piece of land and Joe is obsessed with that.
e. 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. Remaining 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).
f. 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; marries Briony "Bri" Jenkins in Conspiracy Game; have twins, Jeremiah Ken Norton and Noah Jack Norton, as of Ruthless Game.
iii. Ken Norton; 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. Remaining 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?
g. 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. Remaining 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.
h. 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 Viper Game (https://inspirethoughts.livejournal.com/554639.htmL); biological parents of identical triplets produced in-vitro by Whitney - Ginger, Thym, Cannelle "Elle"; twin girls - Grace & Fleur - in Toxic Game.
iii. Trap Dawkins - marries Cayenne in Spider Game. They have twins in this plot - a boy Axel & a girl Drusilla.
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. Dr. Draden "Sandman" Freeman - marries Shylah "Peony" Cosmos in Toxic Game.
vii. Remaining Members: Mordichai Fortunes; Diego Campo; Rubin Campo; Gerald Perkins & Adam Cox (Bellisia's handlers, defect Whitney and join Team Four as of Power Game)
viii. 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); Nonny, Fontenot's grandmother; Avery, tech support;
i. Group One of Whitney's Orphans: Twelve orphan girls he experimented on. Introduced in Shadow Game. Remaining orphans:
i. 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.
j. Group Four of Whitney's Orphans: introduced in Power Game; Remaining orphans - Scarlet; Blue; Cat; In this plot Feehan introduces two more girls who had escaped along with Amaryllis and went their own way - Silver and Coral, Coral comes to the Bed & Breakfast to stay with Marie.
k. Enemies and Perils the GhostWalkers face:
i. Whitney's various experiments: embedded computer chip for tracking; pairing the Orphan girls with one of the four Ghostwalker teams as well with one of his super soldiers created using rejected psychic candidates; Zenith (both first and second generation), a fast-healing medicine but with serious repercussions, Malichai has loses his leg as a result in this plot; experimenting with animal genes and DNA; zombie soldiers with a bonish exoskeleton; portion of hemorrhagic virus introduced in Toxic Game still with Whitney; ability to regenerate lost body parts - this plot alludes to that experiment on orphan girls;
ii. Whitney's allies - Jacob Abrams, a loaded banker, and Senator Freeman's father, Andrew Freeman.
iii. 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 Toxic Game. Have to wait and see who all will unfold eventually.
iv. Liam Hamilton, aide to Vice President - new enemy from this plot.