In Robin Perini's The Cradle Conspiracy, two things have been stolen from Raven: her memories…and her baby. CIA agent Daniel Adams, once a prisoner of war, is a loner out of necessity. But rescuing an amnesiac woman left buried alive bonds them in ways neither can resist. All Raven knows is that her baby is in danger. All Daniel can focus on is finding the missing child - and protecting Raven every step of the way. Her memories are lost and his are scarred from the damages of war. But as they depend on each other for survival in the rugged west Texas mountains, the pieces of their broken pasts start to come together. Now all they have is the risky hope of a future together as they confront the threat that can destroy them both.
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Despite the title, there really is no baby in this story until the last chapter or two. Infants are mentioned early in the book, but they play no real part till the end.
Good narration by Jim Frangione, but a fairly slow and repetitive story, despite the solid action scenes and the fun camaraderie among the ex-military guys (I loved their rude banter, rough insults, and tight bond). An admirable heroine -- I liked her intuitive trust in Daniel.
However, I do wish authors would limit repetitive soul-searching, endless internal dialogue, and maudlin, morbid memories of past pain. Use the freed space to write a crisp, credible sequence of events.
I felt annoyed and bored at Daniel's repetitive thought life and redundant conversations about his imprisonment, the dungeon, the whipping torture, and his severe claustrophia. These repeated references slowed the pace, interrupted the story, and did nothing to foster my sympathy for the hero. This former POW already had all my sympathy at word one, of course. Plus, I certainly didn't need to be reminded of his torture. Would I forget?
Plus, this may seem harsh, but the character who frequently dwells on past abuse -- even POW torture -- begins to appear self-focused. We all know Daniel is not glorifying his pain. It just starts to seem that way. Almost.
Sometimes his morbid thoughts broke into a sweet kiss or even a love scene. Thoughts about past torture, or thoughts about Daniel's dad, who committed suicide.
It's a common problem, IMO, all this soul-searching, seen in numerous RS novels, but I want my action heroes to live in the NOW. Certainly they should be HERE and VIVID in the midst of a battle scene or a love scene. Not digressing from the scene to delve again into reflections on a painful past.
I liked the action scenes (raging floodwaters, buried alive), the discussion and the comaraderie. Great trampoline scene. Improbable? Probably. But cool. And possible.
I like listening without getting bombarded with F-bombs and other vulgarities, so I'm glad Perini kept it smexy but in good taste. This is a book you can listen to around family, except for the love scenes.