Undetected by Dee Henderson
Bethany House Publishers, April 29th, 2014
When asked what he does for a living . . .
Commander Mark Bishop is deliberately low-key: “I’m in the Navy.” But commanding the ballistic missile submarine USS Nevada, keeping her crew trained and alert during ninety-day submerged patrols, and being prepared to launch weapons on valid presidential orders, carries a burden of command like few other jobs in the military. Mark Bishop is a man who accepts that responsibility, and handles it well. And at a time when tensions are escalating around the Pacific Rim, the Navy is glad to have him.
Mark wants someone to come home to after sea patrols. The woman he has in mind is young, with a lovely smile, and very smart. She’s a civilian, yet she understands the U.S. Navy culture. And he has a strong sense that life with her would never be boring. But she may be too deep in her work to see the potential in a relationship with him.
Gina Gray would love to be married. She has always envisioned her life that way. A breakup she didn’t see coming, though, has her focusing all her attention on what she does best–ocean science research. She’s on the cusp of a major breakthrough, and she needs Mark Bishop’s perspective and help. Because what she told the Navy she’s figured out is only the beginning. If she’s right, submarine warfare is about to enter a new and dangerous chapter.
I liked the blurb when I read it and with some reservations from having read Unspoken, I plunged into Undetected. I read it in two days and that’s usually a good thing. I kept waiting for it to get really good, waiting and waiting until I found myself at the last page and I was still waiting.
It appears with her latest three books: Full Disclosure, Unspoken and finally Undetected a real pattern has emerged. Ms. Henderson likes her women to be unrealistically accomplished, usually wealthy and so complicated that the it would take about fifty years to decode them. All three women in the books seem to be emotionally unavailable, to the point of exasperating. I get it, they’ve all had hard lives (especially Charlotte from Unspoken) in some way or another and this makes them put up walls, walls so thick that they usually aren’t knocked down much by the end of the book.
The men in these books are perfect – they are patient, calm, forthright without entering pushy boundaries (although Mark Bishop gives it his best shot in the badgering department regarding his romance with Gina), they are logical and methodical in how they approach love that the spark from the romance never gets a chance even start.
This is the case with Undetected. As I was reading the book, the addition of an extra character to make things interesting was great. I was really wondering how Ms. Henderson was going to sort out the mess (a good storyline mess) she’d created. Once it was resolved, I kept waiting for the next problem to come along and challenge this couple. It didn’t happen sadly. So instead of watching a potentially great couple weather the storms of military life with a genius spouse thrown into the mix, we get lots of science information and lots and lots of information on the ins and outs of submarine maneuvers and life on such a vessel. I know the author does her research and it shows – a little too much. Information overload was happening for most of this book. I’m an average reader and my brain was tired from all the science and technical information – not all of it added to the story either.
I wanted more development from Mark Bishop, I wanted him to show a range of emotions that are realistic of a man – he doesn’t appear to have a temper, get irritated, get frustrated or even be vague like some men I know. He’s just focused on the task ahead and finding the best way to make the outcome happen. I found him at times to be a little patronizing of Gina (he doesn’t mean it, but he can’t see that he is at times) and I wanted to hit him a few times for his almost badgering the poor girl into a romance with him.
I liked Gina and understood her better than the other heroines in Dee’s two previous books. Gina is easily lead and I get why. She’s a genius, she is so far ahead of those in her own field that she likes to fit in and is socially on the back foot. She doesn’t know how to be different but she wants to at the same time. She’s been different her whole life and she worries that she’ll never find her place outside the science world. I think if she had more time with Mark before the badgering started, I could have believed in this relationship more. Give Gina the time to really settle onto the decision and getting to watch her fall in love would have been magic. I didn’t see her fall in love, not really as much of the book is from Mark’s POV, but she somehow did.
I wanted more from this book as I saw more than it offered. It had the potential to be really, really good, instead it was average and this made me sad. Will I keep reading Ms. Henderson’s books? Yes, because I’m an eternal optimist and very loyal.