Competent heroine goes undercover, gets stuck with nethanderal partner

All the Queen's Men - Linda Howard

After the death of her husband, Niema Burdock swore off her adventurous life style and became a gadget inventor. But when spy, John Medina, appears in her life claiming to need her for an undercover mission, Niema can't resist the temptation of one last adventure.

The thing that I enjoy about Howard's writing (and the reason why I keep picking up her books) is the heroines. She always writes great female characters and Niema was no exception. Niema was portrayed as highly skilled in her field with a competitive and blunt nature. So, I had no problem believing that she was competent enough for an uncover mission.

What killed the story, was that I didn't like John. I could've cared less if he ended up jumping off a bridge at the end of the book. He lacked the same character depth as Niema or even the mission's target, Ronsard. Combine that with the annoying "alpha male" personality of a classic Howard hero and you have a one dimensional character, who happens to be a big jerk. This didn't leave me with any fluffy feelings about the developing romance between John and Niema. I almost would've preferred to have seen her end up with Ronsard, who was at least interesting.

I don't think I'll be picking up the last book in this trilogy of Howard's, as I really didn't care for this one.