Sunday, June 3, 2012

Review: Last Man Standing

Last Man Standing
Cindy Gerard
Romantic Suspense
Black Ops Inc. Series/Book 7
Pocket/January 31, 2012

*Spoilers for Previous Books*

A deadly mission. 
A thirst for revenge.
One headstrong alpha hero and one daring woman will settle the score. 

Special operative Joe Green has gone vigilante. His mission: avenge his Black Ops, Inc., brother’s death during a bloody ambush years ago in Sierra Leone. He refuses to drag the BOI team or his lover, Stephanie Tompkins, into the hunt for the man responsible, so when he finds himself beaten, starving, and alone after being falsely imprisoned for the murder of a Freetown priest, he knows he’s as good as dead. 

Joe meant to protect Stephanie when he walked out on their relationship, but he can’t stop her now from executing his escape. Breaking him out of prison is the easy part. After Joe’s explosive theory pans out and his cunning enemy emerges as the front runner for a high-level presidential appointment, he and Stephanie must race to derail the traitor’s conspiracy if they are to save their loved ones, the nation, and each other.

The very last book in the series, or is it?  Actually, per Ms. Gerard's website her next series, One Eyed Jacks, is a spin-off of her popular Black Ops Inc (BOI) series.  The first book, Killing Time, has a tentative publication date of February 2013 and features a secondary character from the BOI series.  I can't tell you how happy I am to hear this news!  I know I'll be reading Ms. Gerard new series.

"Mean" Joe Green, tough on the outside, sweet on the inside.  Okay, maybe sweet is taking it a little too far but he does have a soft, tender side when it comes to Stephanie Tompkins.  That's why he is trying desperately to keep her out of the danger he finds himself in.  Joe is the strong, silent type so I didn't feel like I really knew much of him from prior books.  A little bit once he and Stephanie became intimate so it was satisfying to get his point of view as well as Stephanie's take on him.  I found I liked his quietness, his hidden sense of humor and his deep loyalty towards him team members, friends and Stephanie.

Stephanie Tompkins comes from money and power but those things can not keep pain and loss from entering her world.  She is close to the guys from the BOI but finally got her wish when she became closer to Joe Green.  It's obvious she loves him but she also understand him enough not to pressure him into talking about things he doesn't want to.  Stephanie is very smart but doesn't think of herself as kick-ass so it was fun to see her take on a physical role alongside Joe.  She's resourceful and continues to surprise Joe with her abilities.  Loved it!

The suspense is an important part of the series and would venture to say as important as the action.  Even though we know Stephanie and Joe will make it to the end alive and get their Happy Ever After, there is still much anxiety and concern for their well-being.  The romance is there, Joe and Stephanie love each other, but they are realistic when dealing with their situations and know that sex while bullets are flying isn't a good idea.  Thank god, cause one thing that will irritate the heck out of me is when the hero and heroine are running for their lives but have sex when they should be planning their next move.  

Joe wanted to keep everyone out of the mission and to a certain extent, he did just that.  But a one man team is not going to get the job done this time.  Joe's ass needs saving and Stephanie is just the one to do it.  We do get to see the rest of the team and their wives but much of this is focused on Stephanie and Joe, which worked well.   

Last Man Standing is a fitting end to a wonderful series.  The action, suspense and romance are well balanced with just the right amount of humor and passion.  It's about smart, strong and loyal men and women who go to phenomenal lengths for their brothers in arms and their families. 

Rating:  A-  

Black Ops Inc Series 

Show No Mercy
Take No Prisoners
Whisper No Lies
Feel the Heat
Risk No Secrets
Leave No Trace novella in Deadly Promises anthology
With No Remorse
Last Man Standing


  1. Wooohoo, awesome that this series ends on a high note!! :) Glad that you've enjoyed this series so much. Have any idea if Ms Gerard has a new series in the work?

  2. Nath ~ Spin-off series coming next year!