No Woman Left Behind (Lexi Carmichael #6)
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
For Lexi Carmichael, hacker and geek extraordinaire, this is an event worthy of a heart attack. She’s faced down multiple dangers, her life has been in threat more times than she can count and she can hack her way in and out of any system but nothing presents a challenge like taking her new boyfriend to dinner with her parents.
Lexi’s mother is a former beauty queen now society wife who wants nothing more than to see Lexi settled and married. And although she now has a boyfriend (perhaps her very first one), she’s not entirely sure that Slash fits the image her mother has for her future husband. For a start, his job title is entirely too vague – and that was before dinner was interrupted by gunfire and smashing glass. And then Slash disappears.
The man behind the attack is Johannes Broodryk, a South African terrorist that Lexi has gone up against before. Not satisfied with the outcome of that last meeting, Broodryk has gotten Lexi’s attention and he lets her know that he has something she holds very dear. And the only way he’s going to give it back is if Lexi comes to get it. He’s somewhere in Africa and if Lexi can find him and get there, she just might save her best friend’s life.
But Slash is not on board with Lexi’s plan to get involved on such a level. She has no training for this sort of mission and he doesn’t want to see her put herself in danger. But Lexi has to do this – she’d prefer to do it with Slash’s approval and support but if he won’t give it then she’s going to have to go it alone.
No Woman Left Behind is the sixth book in this series about Lexi Carmichael and it definitely steps things up a lot, both professionally and personally. Lexi and Slash have been ‘dating’ for a little while now but most of that has happened in between books. In the beginning of this book, Lexi is taking Slash, he of many secrets and connections, to have dinner with her wealthy parents. Lexi’s mother is a bit of a pushy society type, always attempting to introduce Lexi to eligible men, seemingly utterly oblivious to the fact that her daughter is incredibly uncomfortable in company, socially inept and not really very life experienced. Although Slash is significantly more adept than Lexi at many things, he understands the life of a socially awkward person, a computer geek. Lexi isn’t convinced her parents will approve of him (the name might be the first thing that raises eyebrows) and she’s basically hyperventilating at the prospect of this dinner.
Although this was amusing (and it’s good to see Lexi and Slash simply being) my interest in this began to wane a little as the dinner went on. The gangbusting scene has the potential to be really cheesy (and probably just skated this line) but when all of the various organisations who investigate begin to put the pieces together and Lexi realises who is behind this, why and what they want, things pick up a lot and I couldn’t put the story down after that.
Although Lexi is frightfully intelligent and very, very good at what she does with computers, she’s also the sort of person where it’s easy to imagine yourself as her. She’s an everyday kinda girl, she’s mid-twenties but still mostly lives like a uni student. She has a core group of very good friends, but that’s it. She doesn’t really do acquaintances but the friends she does have, she’ll do anything for. And that’s why Lexi agrees to undertake this mission to go to Africa, to figure out the cryptic codes herself. She’s quite frankly, shit scared but she’s going to do it anyway. Thankfully she doesn’t go alone and she has an elite SEAL team to back her and I found that the way in which Lexi endears herself to them is so much like her. They know she has no physical skills, they know she’s scared but she is smart and she’s gutsy and they come to really respect that.
Lexi and Slash face their first real issue as a couple over the mission. Although Slash is a computer geek he has some sort of elite military training – this is always sort of vague. He knows that Lexi has none and that the odds of this being a suicide mission for her are pretty high. Obviously he’s not cool with that and there’s a moment where he can’t be part of it and leaves, which means Lexi is kind of on her own to prepare and feels that she’ll be leaving with things with Slash very much in a bad place. For me this conflict between them unfolded very naturally. Lexi is determined and rather stubborn and as I mentioned earlier, intensely loyal. She wasn’t going to risk someone she cares about very much being killed because she refused to do all she could in order to save them. Slash feels relatively helpless I think, because he can’t go with her and help keep her safe. What I did like was that although they had their differences and it escalates into what is almost but not really a fight or a break up, it’s something that obviously eats at both of them and neither of them are too stubborn not to want to sort it out prior to Lexi leaving. I feel as though this places them very much on an equal footing within the relationship and that Slash, although he might be a bigger badass, is probably more willing to be the one that shows his hand first. Slash is confident in his own feelings whereas Lexi is still figuring hers out and there’s quite a sweet scene between them where she finally realises not only her feelings but his as well.
There was a lot of action in this one and I enjoyed the plot probably the most of all of these books so far. But I think it was Lexi’s character that made this one really shine as my favourite so far. I can’t wait for the next one.
Book #69 of 2015