Review: Best Kept Lies by Helena Maeve

What becomes of the Russian spy who lands himself in the crosshairs of a rogue British agent?

Grigory Antipov’s work within the intelligence community is exemplary, but attracting too much attention is against his interests as a spy—a lesson painfully learned the night he is abducted off the streets of Rome. Captivity is a dangerous thing and Grigory already operates under a cloud of suspicion given his predilection for male company. Luckily, his stint in British custody is short-lived, a mere flex of muscle from Agent Karim Awad. 

Karim’s objective is obvious. Lure Grigory into Section’s clutches and turn him against his own people. Expose him to the wrath of Moscow if he refuses. His mission brief may not specify the methods to be used, but Grigory soon discovers that Karim is a man of many talents. With powerful interests at play and the threat of deadly force in the air, Grigory faces an impossible choice—surrender to his fate or sacrifice the only man whose touch makes him feel alive after so many years.

I love me some espionage. I love the exotic locales. I love the intrigue. I love the language with all its acronyms. I love that there are always plans within plans, that things are never as they seem.

As a matter of fact, if things had gone differently (and by differently, I mean if I could stomach killing someone with a bic) then Cupcake might've gone into the spy game.

This novella contains many of the things I like best about this subgenre. 

Grigory is an androgynous SVR agent who is on the radar of the director for advancement. He's cunning and ruthless and he plays the game like a true aficionado. Spies, by definition, are lone wolves and trusting another is typically not in their repertoire. Grigory is doubly cautious because he's a spy and gay in a country that considers homosexuality an abomination and tantamount to a death sentence, or in his case a quiet execution. 

When we catch up with him he's in Rome working with a very green asset that's SIS. Shortly thereafter he finds himself tased in an alley and the game is afoot! Best Kept Lies picks up quickly with diligent, chess moves and countermoves, cryptic subtext and smoking hot spy sex between Grigory and Kamir, one of his captors.

What's a little tasing amongst bedmates? 

The one wielding the taser is one Arabic SIS agent that is hot, just as guarded as Grigory and even more indecipherable. When these two get together the passion wafted off my kindle; they're literally ravenous for one another. Kamir is a take charge top which melts Grisha into a begging, desperate pile of goo. What surprised and delighted me was how shy Grisha was and completely undone by Kamir's... attentiveness. 

"Yeah, that's right... Scream for me, love. Let the neighbors hear you."

But there's little else that defines them. Hot sex is hot, but I don't quite grasp how they got from A to B. I feel like it was right there, just out of reach and if it had been slightly longer with more relationship development I would be rating this higher. The ending is very abrupt and, honestly, a bit farfetched for me to believe; it feels rushed and unfinished. Agents don't make impulsive decisions. There's too much at stake for that and there are always plans within plans, thus I had a hard time believe their relationship could ever be trusting.

What I loved was Maeve's usage of the English language. I wallowed around in her verbiage like a pile of freshly laundered fluffy towels. Words like propitious, métier, simulacrum and nimbus. If she'd walloped me with vicissitude I might've needed a change of under things. She also constructed the intricacies of international relations amongst agencies dexterously and engagingly.

I'll be on the lookout for other works by this author in the future.

An ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.

No comments:

Post a Comment