Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Very UnCONventional Christmas, Stephanie Osborn

If you just want the condensed Amazon review, you can get it here.

Warning: rantish behavior follows!

Agent Echo doesn't like Christmas. I don't either.

He gives in a little, and I have as well, but when the kids are out of the house, I will NOT be doing anymore Christmas stuff. I'm delighted for you if you disagree, and I'm perfectly happy being called a grinch or scrooge.

I'm not going to divulge his reasons, because that's his story to tell. The reason I don't like it are numerous, but mostly because it has become such a hyped-up event that it can never live up to the promises of the Hallmark movies.

I don't like the Hallmark movies, either.

It gives me an opportunity to go to the Waffle House. I get to do that on Christmas and my birthday, without anybody giving me any grief about it. I go at other times as well; as often as possible, in fact. However, I look forward to Waffle House, and leaving a huge tip for the waitress, and that's about it.

In recent years, I have requested that anyone who wishes to provide me with a Christmas present should make a donation to a shelter, and I particularly like the City of Refuge in Atlanta, because they provide the total package.

Your mileage may vary.

But, here is the review of the book:

 The Division One Alpha Line is approaching Christmas, and there are some unusual circumstances.

One of the NON-unusual circumstances is the well-executed and witty cover, a comment I am inserting at this particular point because if i don't I'll forget it, and this whole word processing thing is just a fad. Why copy and paste to a better location, when it interrupts the flow of ideas? Or something. At any rate, the cover design is by one Darrell Osborn; I believe he and the author are known to take personal liberties with each other as a medium of exchange.

I hope you see what I did there, because that IS one of the unusual circumstances. Partly because Agents Echo and Omega are the top dogs in a pack of alphas, and perhaps for other reasons, there are nasty rumors floating around about the nature of their relationship. Since they both have history which prevents clear perception of relationship possibilities, they have not hurled themselves into each other's arms, and the filthy-minded simply refuse to believe that things are as they appear. She's gorgeous, they think, so he MUST be sleeping with her. And since he is sleeping with her, that MUST be the only reason she has the job.

Well, sorry to tell you nasty, nasty little creeps, but their relationship is held in check by the author.

So there.

In addition to the lies, rumors, and innuendo, Echo and Omega discover there has been a major security breach. Their first clue? Getting ambushed by children. Seems that the hottest toy this Christmas is a thinly-veiled Division One replica, with look-alike agent action figures, blasters, and so forth. And a movie is in production.

Oh, my! Who could be behind such a dastardly plan to expose the most secret of all secret agencies?

Yeah, well, the answer IS "bad guys," but I'm afraid I just can't get more specific than that.

Spoilers, ya know.

Nicely Tuckerized in the story are several figures who are Known Associates, and no damage is done to the reputation of any. Although: there is one scene in which the determination of one character to do a thorough job causes him to get repeatedly brain-bleached.

For the record, it takes place at a science fiction convention, which is the 'CON' hidden in the title. I've never attended one of those, but I have been to a large number of professional cons, and being brain-bleached is NOT, by far, the worst thing a behind-the-scenes person may expect.

Peace be on your household.

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