Stolen diamonds, religious fanatics, weapons of mass destruction, terrorist organizations, and a sexy counterterror agent give expert jewel thief Taylor Kincaid the adrenaline rush of her career. The HOT ICE heroine keeps her cool while cracking the codes to impregnable safes. She slithers between high-tech security system grids, scales buildings, and leaps across rooftops. But she melts at the touch of Terrorist Force Logistical Command (T-FLAC) operative Huntington St. John.
Gorgeous blue eyes and a body that makes men do a double take are Taylor's only weapons. Trained to lower herself into tight places in order to take back stolen diamonds and return them via her employer Consolidated Underwriters, Taylor's expertise is cracking safes, completing the heist in record time, and getting out with the diamonds in her possession without getting caught.
Taylor's expertise and speed is just what Huntington St. John and his T-FLAC operatives need to stop the maniacal José Morales, head of the Mano del Dios terrorist organization. Morales has a missile buried in a mine in South Africa scheduled to hit Las Vegas within 48 hours. It is crucial to penetrate a mine shaft with multiple dangerous obstacles patterned after Dante's seven levels of hell to get to the base of the missile and deactivate the complicated code.
Huntington St. John rescues Taylor from a filthy jail cell in San Cristóbal, South America, her first capture, after she inadvertently steals disks from Morales's safe with crucial codes to break into each level of the mine. Taylor's prize heist is the Blue Star diamonds Morales "acquired" from the Romanov Collection in Leningrad. Huntington St. John's prize turns out to be rescuing Taylor.
The Romantic Times lauds Cherry Adair as "One of the reigning queens of romantic adventure." Ignore the pit of snakes and splattered blood scenes and concentrate on the adventure and fantasy of intimate trysts with a sexy man in a simple African rondaval or in a luxury airplane bathroom with "bronzed mirror-covered walls, plush carpeting, and soft, golden light."
At times, Taylor reminds you of a female Indiana Jones, able to ward off fear for the adventure of cracking open another high-tech safe in her search for sparkling treasures and hot ice. When Taylor unexpectedly finds the $75 million Blue Star diamonds in the mine shaft and holds the hot ice sparkling in her hands, you forget about the gory and sometimes confusing scenes Adair includes as they descend the seven levels of the mine shaft. Taylor is given a LockOut suit to wear on the mission, which is supposed to lock out water, fire and bullets, yet it does not lock out the feel of snakes crawling across Taylor's foot as she works to open the final keypad.
The only disappointment was Huntington St. John's choice of jewelry for Taylor. I think Mr. St. John could have selected something more befitting a jewel thief. The piece of "ice" he gave her would have melted very fast.
Reviewed by Hillary Wagy on January 22, 2011