From Harmony Ink:
Jack is about to embark on a new mission. Agent Anna Baxter has tried his patience on previous assignments, and he expects more of the same. On the bright side, he’ll also be working with Leo McCormack. The three agents must go undercover to insinuate themselves into a drug ring led by Gregor Slovik, and to do so, they must gain the trust of Gregor’s friend, high schooler Connor White. This creates a dilemma for Jack—Connor is gay, which gives Jack an opening to make a connection with him. But should he exploit it? Luckily Jack has Leo to turn to for advice and support, and together they try to avoid falling into the traps that arise during the mission. But Agent Baxter has an agenda of her own—one that forces Jack into a treacherous situation.
There was no obvious surveillance equipment in this room, but Jack knew the pinhole on the wall behind the interrogator’s head was a camera that was hooked up to a monitor, which was no doubt being watched by his handler, Sean. Most likely the feed was also being routed to one of the bank of screens in his guardian’s office. Jack fought down the urge to raise his middle finger, figuring it would end badly for him if he gave in to the impulse. Instead he forced himself to focus on Dr. Clark and tried to come up with answers that wouldn’t get him sent to a retraining program.
“So, Jack,” she said, “would you say your last assignment was a success?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Jack replied.
Sometimes she let him get away with monosyllabic answers; sometimes she pressed him for more. This time she wanted more.
“What, in particular, did you feel was successful?”
Book three pick up right where the previous title left off and plunges the reader headfirst into the next assignment. It’s a turn about for Jack as he’s asked to assume a role akin to the one Leo had played when Jack himself had been the unwitting target. This causes him to re-examine his feelings and think more with his brain, though as he’s Jack, his heart gets in the way and he once more finds out that there are wheels within wheels within wheels, deceptions and double crosses designed to manipulate not only the marks. No longer sure of who he can trust, Jack once more goes with his gut. Once he’s made his choice, his very life and the outcome of the op depend on it.
I must say here that Agent Baxter is a stone cold bitch, but given Jack’s early upbringing at the Center (with Judith), I’m surprised he has such a violent person reaction to her. He doesn’t remember his own Mom, just Judith, and never got to watch TV until three years ago, and then that was carefully vetted (only enough to build the role he was assuming) so it’s bit puzzling as to why he doesn’t see her as normal. She’s certainly no worse than his guardian. I also have very mixed feelings about Sean, given the “discipline” he gives Jack when even a minor rule infraction occurs, particularly when it happens under the rigid confines of The Centre itself. These are just niggles though, not enough to get in the way of a good thriller, which this most definitely was. I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series.