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The Operative is the second book in Gerald Brandt's San Angeles sci-fi thriller series and it continues the story of Kris Merrill.

Premise: In The Courier, Kris finds herself caught up in the politics of the corporations that rule a near future Earth, as well as the heavens above, when she accidentally witnesses a murder while delivering a package. She survives--because she's a survivor--but she can't return to life as a courier now. Instead, she's become involved in the resistance, training to be one of their operatives. But the Meridian corporation still wants her dead, as well as certain elements within the resistance itself. And they're willing to do anything--even use her mentor and lover Ian Miller--to get to her. As the city descends into civil unrest, she must find a way to rescue Ian ... but she doesn't know who she can trust.

I enjoyed this continuing story and thought it moved in a believable direction for Kris herself. She isn't really the kind of personality you'd think of as being an "operative," and that's clearly a drawback for her in the novel, giving it an immediate sense of tension. So while she has the training to be an operative, her heart isn't really in it, causing all kinds of problems throughout the novel as she searches for Ian and discovers who she can and cannot trust. This being a second novel in a series, there is a transitional nature to the novel, with not only Kris shifting from her courier days to something else, but the entire city and political shape of the world shifting as well. I'm looking forward to the third installment in this series.

If you like SF thrillers, I'd definitely recommend this series.

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Joshua Palmatier

September 2017

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