Merline Lovelace’s new novel, All The Wrong Moves, is a great start to a new mystery series. I enjoyed her fast-paced, first person narrative, and I like United States Air Force Lieutenant Samantha Spade a lot. She’s young, quirky, and hip, the kind of girl you can take home to mom and still depend on to cover your six during a mugging. She shares not only the events of the investigation with her readers, but also her views on life, the opposite sex, and the military in equal doses. She’s quite compelling.
Lovelace is a retired USAF colonel herself, with all kinds of postings in exotic (and not so exotic) hot spots around the globe. She has a great knowledge of the military, technology, and people. All of that shows in the pages of this novel.
I also really love the background Lieutenant Spade is played again. South Texas is near a lot of trouble, so her budding relationship with Border Patrol Agent Jeff Mitchell feels natural. The fact that Fort Bliss is so close, complete with inter-military problem potential, is another facet that I expect will be explored. We get a touch of it here, and it ups the ante for Spade’s investigations.
Most of all, though, I love the fact that Spade is part of a DARPA program that tests new technology designed for military use. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency isn’t quite as hush-hush these days as it has been, but lots of folks are still fascinated by all the technology and cutting-edge science those people play with. Lovelace hangs enough of it out there to whet the appetites of geeks everywhere and send them scrambling for the Internet to find out more.
The story is twisted in several places and I had to pay close attention to who was doing what, which is fair in a mystery novel. Lovelace’s prose makes reading so enjoyable that I was constantly chasing Spade’s narrative out of sheer enjoyment instead of pursuing clues and turning over possible villains. But the author had a lot to set up in this first novel and she does it really well.
The action sequences are well written and exciting, and I loved the way EEEK played a part in pulling everyone’s fat out of the fire at the end. I knew they were lugging that big guy around for a reason, and it was good to see that I wasn’t mistaken.
Lieutenant Samantha Spade is one of those heroines that male and female readers will both love. She’s savvy and individualistic, but still all female. I’m looking forward to further adventures, and Lovelace has already got two more scheduled for publication.