Beth Faraday grew up knowing she had a special skill set, one that allowed her to become one of the world’s most-sought-after assassins. But when something goes terribly wrong on a mission in Kabul Beth abruptly retired. She left her work and family behind to assume a new identity, and try to find a new way to live. But someone from her past has put out a hit on her, and her Spy, the last man she ever expects back in her life is back.
This was a pulse-pounding, mind-cracking, absorbing tale. Spies, double agents, assassination attempts & stolen moments of passion and danger. Edie Harris constructed an explosive non-linear narrative, that has us moving backwards and forwards through Beth and Vick’s history together. Each scene clicks neatly into place, complicating current and past interactions. I loved how the story of their past keep twisting and changing, creating a complex picture of two people tied together in mutual longing. Theirs is a story of obsession, deep loneliness, unvoiced desires and feelings.
Beth’s Spy is Vick Raleigh, a loyal servant in the Queen's MI-6 intelligence services. Whatever disguise or identity he is assuming, Beth has always been able to recognize him. Their paths intentionally and unintentionally cross through out Beth’s 10 year career as an assassin. Each time they meet, they are drawn together, and they steal little moments of intimacy and connection, despite having to deny each other even the most basic of foundations for trust, the truth of who they are and why they are there.
I loved that both Beth and Vick struggle to know what to expect and want from each other, having built up complicated fantasies around each other during their long separations. I love how this leads them to hesitate in expressing what they really want out of fear of losing both the fantasy and the reality. They fail to say too much which hurts them more than outright lies.
Vick carries around the burden of his solitary work, and longs to have someone who will see him and truly know him. In Beth, Vick sees the potential of partner who can truly know all of him, but feels unworthy of her attention and care. Beth is a Faraday, youngest daughter of a legendary family in the intelligence community. Feeling like the unexceptional one in a family of remarkable people, she became an assassin, assuming an emotionally self-destructive role, in order to find a way to protect and serve in the family business and earn her place in it. For Beth, Vick has always tantalizing puzzle, a dangerous flirtation, her well kept secret. Spotting him, drawing him to her, always brought a little joy to her deadly missions. But after Kabul, she finally recognizes that she can’t keep living the way she had been, going from mission to mission, disgusted by a world where no one avenges the lives that really matter and leaves her family behind to start a new life in Chicago. While she is out of shape and practice, pursuing a career as art curator she hasn’t left everything behind. Her new life feels like an extended mission, she is still paranoid, observant and suspicious, haunted by her failures and regrets and when Vick steps back into her life, she needs to figure out what it will take for her to truly build a new life.
This was heart-stomping and all-around good book. I loved how Harris played with my emotions, and upended my expectations. The twists and betrayals made me wondered how Harris would be able to make it all work, particularly when it comes to balancing the heavy weight of truth and honesty in Vick and Beth’s relationship and the consequences they both have to bear for failing to speak or listen to the truth when they had a chance.
As this book features spies, assassins, those with triggers connected to torture & abduction should steer clear. However I can’t wait to read the rest of the Blood Money series.
Blamed by Edie Harris published by Carina Press, who provided me with a advanced review copy via NetGalley.
Publication date: Nov. 3, 2014