4 out of 4 stars
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The O´Leary Entanglement, by Bob Purrsell, is a book about friendship, loyalty and honesty, with a gunfight or two thrown in for good measure. Book 2 in The Adventures of Barbara O´Leary series, this book starts off with Lieutenant Barbara O´Leary returning from her assignment in Chad to the naval base in Houston.
With the assistance of advanced hormonal treatment, Barbara has drastically changed her appearance to become the woman she has always wanted to be. Along with this change comes the realization that she has to relearn who this new Barbara is, and she is surprised by the confidence that comes with this different body. Her forays with this new confidence lead to her meeting Kirsten, and the two quickly become friends. Kirsten is in the ´intimate companion´ business and Barbara´s eyes are opened to a whole new world as she becomes closer with Kirsten and her friends.
Desperate to keep her friendship with Kirsten from harming her naval career, the two seem destined to collide when Barbara is caught up in the middle of an internal bribery investigation. Will she be able to extract herself from the investigation or is she herself now a suspect? Not knowing who to believe, she must trust in her own instincts to get her through, but will it mean sacrificing her naval career?
Wonderfully written, this book was an absolute pleasure to read. The story is predominantly written in first person from Barbara’s perspective, however, there are interview extracts scattered throughout the book, written in third person. This gives the reader the ability to not only get to know Barbara very well as a character, but also other people´s opinions of her.
I was pleasantly surprised with the depth of this storyline, as well as the character development. The story focuses on Barbara, an already strong character, as it shows her coming to terms with her physical appearance and overcoming long held insecurities. She also questions her own morals and what she´s willing to stand up for. The other characters are both three dimensional and realistic, ranging from charming and endearing to irritating and sleazy. To me, this is an indication of great character construction by the author.
As the second book in the series, I was worried that I would be at a disadvantage, not having read the first installment. Luckily, that was not the case. Even though there were a lot of references to the previous book, this story is an enjoyable read on its own.
Set some years in the future, the book is mainly centered in Houston, Texas, but also travels deep into the Guatemalan jungle. This provides a great change of scenery and pace, as well as adding another dimension to the story. As I live in Guatemala I really enjoyed this aspect as it’s a country not commonly found in popular fiction.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and rate it 4 out of 4 stars. Well written and professionally edited, the story flowed well and I was surprised by the twists and turns that kept it from being predictable. This is a great book for a wide audience, but especially those that enjoy strong female characters and crime fiction. I’m not sure if there is a third book coming out, but I would love to find out what Barbara´s up to next.
The O'Leary Entanglement
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