Diane Henders is the author (independently published) of an 11 book (soon to be 12) book series about a badass... um... middle-aged bookkeeper? Wait... what? Okay, maybe if you squint a little, and in the right circumstances, she just might look like a badass superspy. Said circumstances being: getting carjacked, then rescued by a swoonworthy RCMP cop, who then suspects her of being involved in the international espionage plot he's investigating. The same one her carjacker was involved in. Of course, it doesn't hurt that while, yes, she's a bookkeeper, she's also a self-sufficient, tom-boy-grown-up 46 year old woman who thinks nothing of renovating an old farm house all by herself, or tackling - literally - a guy she thinks is threatening her with a gun. She's also snarky and really disinclined to take any crap. From anybody. So, of course the aforementioned swoonworthy cop thinks she's a superspy.
That's in the first chapter of the first book. Then things get weird. (And yes, there is a section early on where you might worry that the author has dumped you into the mind of a lunatic. Keep reading. Trust me on this!)
This is a great series, and I know because I've read them all (and am eagerly awaiting the next installment). It may not be for everybody - the protagonist, Ayden Kelly, can be a bit foul-mouthed, and is enthusiastically heterosexual and single, but it's perfect for me - it has everything I want in a reading experience: The characters are appealing and well drawn, the action is briskly paced, and the writing is well done, with plenty of humor to leaven the action. Romance is present (and also nicely done), but it's not the main focus - which is a big plus for me. I enjoy a bit of steam, but not so much steam that you can't see the plot through it. As a reader, I'm all about the story. Romance is a nice bonus, though. There is also a bit of sci-fi-ish tech, but for the most part, the story is present day, normal world.
The editing is professional-level, too. No weird typos, no homonym or usage errors to throw you out of the story.
Another thing I liked about this series is that the author doesn't try to tell you everything about the characters in the first book. Clearly, she always planned for this to be a series, so, as is appropriate for a series start, you learn enough to like the characters, and get a feel for where there's more to discover about them in later books. Each book is a complete adventure, though - no cliff-hangers, just the sense that more adventure is bound to follow. Because, with these characters, how could it not? There is an overall background story arc that comes into view later on in the series, but it doesn't really interfere with the resolution of any particular current adventure.
As is common for self-published authors, the first in the series is free (in ebook form). So if this sounds interesting to you, try the freebie. It's worth your time to find out if this author might become one of your favorites, too.
Dianne Henders has a author page on Facebook and a personal blog. Her books are available at all the major retailers.
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