Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Review source: Publisher
Reviewed by: Kathy Davie
Series: Codename: Chandler, 3
Third in the Codename: Chandler horror action suspense series revolving around the remaining three septuplets and their rush to save the world.
I received this as a story ARC from the publisher.
Jesus, Konrath and Peterson have the most horrific imaginations! Their characters are nightmares! If you like reading about psychopaths and total brutality, this one's for you. And yeah, it is a great non-stop, roller coaster, action ride of a story—you'll just need a strong stomach and leave the compassion at home!
Konrath/Peterson switch POVs among the girls; it's easy enough to follow along as they let you know at the start of a chapter who's talking.
I gotta hand it to the girls. They are inventive survivors—to the max! And Konrath/Peterson have a great hook to start this story. I couldn't read fast enough to find out the why of Hammett's initial, um, state of undress as well as Chandler's attitude toward her sister! There was so much drama and tension—yeah, the attitudes of most of the spies are pretty over-the-top—but you can't possibly be bored. I know my heart was in my mouth for most of the story!
The authors do manage to throw in humor, just to cut the tension a bit:
"I'm going to kill you with this cheese?The talk about Fleming's pimped-out wheelchair—wait'll you read what she does to the chair at the motorcycle shop! Although my imagination absolutely fails me on the "He can do a handstand while doing a split."
It is sharp cheddar."
Part of what I saw as the horror in this is the constant wondering by the sisters as to when they should kill each other. Not that they're prejudiced or anything. They'll kill anyone they need to. But I gotta tell ya, these three girls are a step up from the rest. The others'll kill, and do it horrifically, just for the fun of it.
Speaking of characters, a few of the characters in this story come from other stories in the authors' repertoires (see "The Characters").
Shockingly, in spite of being a trilogy (I'm being snide—I was slammed in the comments over on Amazon for daring to review a book in a series and not have read every book, short story, and novella previous to it—so I would know what was going on and be able to do a proper review…*eye roll*...), you don't need to have read the previous story in Konrath/Peterson's series; I suspect your "appreciation of this one would be richer for it, but it's not essential. I certainly didn't feel lost. I do get the impression that the start of this one picks up immediately after Spree, 2.
A few hiccups for me: why wouldn't someone as smart as Fleming think of a GPS in the van, especially when the salesman tells her it has antitheft? There wasn't much finesse in the Bradley-Fleming hook-up, although it did work well.
Oh, wow, we learn about Fleming's accident, and what caused it. I'm curious to read the others in this series, and I'd like to find out who the man is who adopted Chandler. He sounds like he was The Instructor at one point, but then I get the impression they aren't the same man. I'm confused.
Ooh, a bit preachy...although I do agree with the sentiment (the quote may not be exact as this is an uncorrected proof, but I really liked this):
That's the whole point of Homeland Security, isn't it? Personal safety at the expense of personal freedoms. Who cares if our government kills our enemies without a trial or even evidence, as long as we're protected? Who cares if we kill our own citizens? We trust those in power to do what's right for the country…"Uh-huh, right. Just substitute "themselves" for "country" and it's about right…
It took a bit before I got comfy with Harry mouthing off. Lordy, he's so gross and sex-obsessed...you can't help but laugh.
If you're planning to travel to Mexico at all, you might want to read it just to put you on your guard! Between the cartonero selling Chandler, and the taxi driver who tried to rob her...oh, boy…
Be warned...you will cry at the end.
Chandler was forced to assassinate the President of the United States, and her blackmailer has it on tape. But he's taken it too far, and all three sisters are determined to take him down! Um, right after they save the world.
Chandler, Hammett, and Fleming are what's left of seven identical sisters—Chandler has killed the others. They are well-trained U.S. spies who are manipulated, used, and abused (and that is such an understatement!) in the service of The Instructor, who heads up both Hydra and Hydra Deux, top-secret, über-vicious assassin programs. He's someone I'd love to stake out on an anthill in the hot sun—and occasionally sprinkle with water to keep him alive and hurtin' for as long as possible. Chandler is hiding Julie (see Exposed, 0.2) on a remote island off the coast of Maine. Kirk is her dog.
Chandler and Hammett, once known as Betsy, are still field operatives; Chandler is discovering she has a heart while Hammett is a psychopath with no morals who prefers dogs. Fleming was damaged in an "accident" and now works from a wheelchair behind a desk as Chandler's handler and exercising her particular genius. Bradley Milton is a robotics expert who lives and works in Baltimore.
Jack Daniels does the girls a favor. A really BIG favor. Harry McGlade has a much bigger part to play—and if you stick around, Harry'd be glad to show you just how big. What a crack up he is! Tequila Abernathy is semiretired from his Enforcer job and does favors for friends. David Lund is a regular guy, a firefighter, whom Chandler loves, but he's horrified by her casual approach to killing. Elise was her social worker.
President J. Phillip Ratzenberger is appropriately named; he is a rat, one with some nasty plans. Chaz is the cat Ratzenberger fantasizes about killing.
Hydra Deux spies
Heathcliff (he and Chandler first hook up in Hit, 0.1) is partnered with the intimidating Earnshaw—think of a shaved gorilla in drag. There's a bit where Heath says kissing Earnshaw destroyed his pretending it was Chandler...who doesn't have razor stubble on her face. You want to like Heath, especially when you learn that he likes killing when "justice was dealt and innocents spared", but then he continues with "...when innocents refused to cooperate…" ick Scarlett hates men and is partnered up with Rhett who keeps trying on his cowboy charm. Isolde is, oh my god, the most nightmarish of this bunch with a love to hurt and be hurt; she's partnered up with Tristan, who loves to accommodate her.
Manuel Diaz is the arenero in Mexico City. Dr. Derek Fossen is forced to help if he wants to save his sister. Maria Elena Castellano was Heathcliff's mother; Filena is his half-sister. Murray Kaufmann, Chandler's parole officer, forgave her as he died. Lyle Gerard works on greens maintenance at the Oakdale Gold and Country Club, and he gets the shock of his life when Isolde rises up, holding her guts.
Los Zetas are an enforcement arm for the Gulf cartel; El Cártel de Sinaloa are rivals.
The cover is blue, all sorts of shades of blue with grids of all kinds and red snaky things twisting up into words shapes and what looks like chromosomes, and a sexy Chandler holding a smoking gun.
The title short and to the point; they're Three sisters, all that's left.