Diamonds Are Truly Forever
by Gina Robinson
(St. Martinís, $7.99, PG) ISBN 978-0312-54240-5
***
Gina Robinson has apparently written a whole series on spies who work for the National Clandestine Services arm of the CIA and from my research her stories are all loosely named after James Bond movies and filled with references to Get Smart - the old TV show. While slightly entertained by this story, it was not entertaining enough for a wholehearted endorsement.

Drew Fields is an agent who has seen a lot and done a lot of bad things. His job requires major undercover assignments and lying is one of his primary skills. He is married to (and soon to be divorced from) Staci Fields who cannot lie without giving away a million clues. The divorce is underway partly due to Staci's inability to lie. In a previous mission, she slipped and mentioned that Drew was her husband which led to her kidnapping during which she was tortured during which she gave away Drew's location, causing him to be hurt and his partner to be killed. Staci asked for a divorce, thinking she was putting him in danger since she could not lie and he agreed, only because he assumed that she would be safer away from him. But now circumstances have changed.

Drew is going undercover as himself, with a plan to try to win Staci back, when in reality he is spying on her stepfather Sam, who is apparently selling technology secrets to a terrorist group named RIOT. Drew's plan is to convince the world that he has quit his job which required travel in order to get a job in a microbrewery so he can be home more and thus, Staci will take him back. This will also keep him in contact with his in-laws and Sam. Things get complicated when Staci gets shot at and now Drew thinks she saw something and Sam's terrorists are also trying to kill her.

The story is a bit convoluted and the humor is off beat, with periodic references to "Ninety-nine" and silly gadgets. In fact, there is even a store that sells spy gadgets...really. And of course, things can only get sillier when Staci decides to try to spy on Sam because her mother thinks he may be having an affair. I did like Drew sometimes, but he just didn't come off as a macho spy like I would have anticipated. Staci wanted to be independent but she was a little too ditzy to be convincing. The boss is a guy named Emmett who keeps popping up when you least expect him to and at times, he is the most intriguing of the characters.

If you enjoy madcap adventure with plenty of bad guys and yet no real threat; plenty of spy gigs and yet no real reality and of course, two people who are hot for each other but keep trying to convince both the other person and themselves that it means nothing...then you might get a kick out of Diamonds Are Truly Forever. If you are looking for a good suspense romance or a good romantic comedy with some rationality, then this is probably not the book for you.

--Shirley Lyons


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