D.J. Butler's Reviews > Cloaks and Veils

Cloaks and Veils by J.C. Carleson
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's review
Jun 08, 12

bookshelves: thriller, romance
Read in June, 2012

The premise of this espionage-romance is solid. Dara, expert CIA field agent, has been sidelined to a desk job for an illicit romance. The murder of a hero finds her in a position to solve the crime, fix endemic rot within the agency and redeem her own career to boot, if only she can figure out what is going on in time. Dara is apparently at odds with everyone, including the Agency and her Jordanian secret agent lover. So far, so good.

Unfortunately, the author does several things to undercut herself. There's an awful lot of coincidence, and multiple spoonfed clues. Dara is hypocritical (her own sexual improprieties are romantic and wonderful; those of other women are condemned, and set women as a class back) and self-congratulatory about her politics, which makes her hard to care about. But the big flaw in this book is that all the action happens off-screen. No car chases, shootouts, stabbings, poisonings, nothing, happens where the reader can see it. Therefore it never feels like Dara is in danger, and the book... is... very... slow. Dara seems part-tourist and part-internal auditor, printing files, wandering around the globe, and stumbling into the solution to the Agency's situation by chance and the actions of others.
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