Protecting His Own
by Lindsay McKenna
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1185, $4.75, PG) ISBN 0-373-27255-3
Protecting His Own is set sometime in the future (hopefully never) when the Los Angeles Basin has been almost destroyed by an earthquake. The area is still receiving aftershocks; the roads, electricity and water sources are all destroyed. The population is dying because it cannot be adequately accessed for relief efforts. In addition to the perils of plague, dehydration and starvation, a gang of murderers who call themselves Diablo is terrorizing the area.

The Marines are present as well as Morgan’s Mercenaries. Fans of Lindsey McKenna will recognize Morgan as the head of a secret covert group. One of the many facets of his job is to put in place emergency medical teams in different locales within the area. Captain Roc Gunnison is the Marine in charge of scouting out the new locales, as well as protecting the medical unit being sent to assess the proposed sites.

Dr. Samantha Andrews is the emergency room chief who has been selected to organize the establishment of the new medical locations. She and Roc met months before in an altercation in an emergency room. They remember each other, not fondly, but with dislike.

Intense dislike often crosses the line to intense love and it does so here, notwithstanding the emotional baggage each brings. Sam had lost her Marine Corp fiancé to an accident, and triple type A personality that she is never thought she would ever find anyone else who could understand her. Roc, is the archetype of the poor little rich boy, although among his complexes his most endearing one is his “mother hen” complex.

The plot line is fairly unusual for this series, but it evolves nonetheless in a fairly predictable fashion. The problem with the story is that the reader is presented with the characters, actions, setting and events that constitute the majority of the action as a narrative rather than by the actions, thoughts or deeds of the parties.

Also worrisome is the tendency toward the melodramatic that the dialogue often reaches. Still for McKenna fans, this novel offers a sufficiently different story line to continue reading the Morgan’s Mercenaries series.

--Thea Davis

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