ICE WOMAN ASSIGNMENT REVIEWED BY S. LINEBAUGH
The Ice Woman Assignment by Austin S. Camacho has all the excitement and tension a reader of thrillers could want. Morgan Stark, a black, well-muscled former mercenary, is a partner in a security business with red-haired former jewel thief Felicity O’Brien. Their cunning opponent is Anaconda,a woman who uses clairvoyant brothers to predict dangers and act as her sex slaves. The FBI and CIA want Stark and O’Brien to help them put a dent in the business of Anaconda’s Escorpionistas. They know that Gold Heart Shipping in Corpus Christi, Texas, sends its mercy ship to Colombia with powdered milk, clothing, and books. The assignment is to prove that the ship’s return cargo hides Ice, the newest additive street drug.
Felicity wants to do more than locate the infiltration point and uncover the subterfuge. After witnessing what Anaconda’s Ice has done to the clairvoyant named Frederico, she’s determined to save him in spite of Morgan’s doubts.
The nonstop action to destroy Anaconda’s Ice unreels in a rush of sexual tension, ugly threats, and bloody encounters. There are attractions and jealousies. People die violent deaths, some of them courtesy of Morgan. In a bar in L.A.’s Spanish neighborhood, hot dancing and flaming shots of expensive rum lead Morgan and Felicity straight into Anaconda’s grip. While Anaconda’s men do their best to kill Morgan with knives, guns, and fists, Anaconda knifes Felicity’s pride and her body. The battle turns personal. Felicity wants revenge.
Frederico flees to Felicity, predicting that she and Morgan, “the Puma and the Hawk,” will crush Anaconda, the Serpent. Felicity and Morgan discount his clairvoyance, but they have their own psychic powers, ways of sensing each other and the environment. His scalp tingles at the approach of danger. Her sense of time is never wrong. At times, one experiences what’s happening inside the other.
Frederico falls back into Anaconda’s grasp. Felicity finds a way to get into Gold Heart’s Corpus Christi warehouse using shallow breathing and meditation in a scheme from her thieving past. Inside, she succeeds in disarming the elaborate security, except for Tomas, who’s wearing a bandoleer of knives. He deliberately hits Morgan in the arm with his first throw, but never gets to throw again. When they reach safe territory, Felicity binds Morgan’s wounds and he discovers the wound she’s been hiding. She’s the strongest and most vulnerable woman he’s ever known. Bullets fly again, and again teamwork pulls them through, though he’s half dead and she’s half dressed.
Felicity discovers the secret of smuggling Ice in a bible she lifted from the Gold Heart warehouse. A flight to a government lab in Colombia proves her theory is right. All that’s left is to rescue Frederico and confront Anaconda. Morgan and Felicity are dropped from a high altitude plane on the edge of Anaconda’s lair many miles from Bogota. The guard animals are bizarre, the wardrobe malfunctions are revealing, and the ingenious attacks and counter-attacks are nerve fraying. The final question is: can Anaconda be destroyed?
Austin Camacho is a talented writer who knows how to take the reader for an exciting ride. Morgan and Felicity are more than sexy action figures. They’re three-dimensional characters who wrestle with moral decisions, worry about each other, and suffer the physical and emotional consequences of their adventures.
The Ice Woman Assignment is an exciting read.
Sonia L. Linebaugh is a freelance writer and artist. Her book At the Feet of Mother Meera: The Lessons of Silence goes straight to the heart of the Westerner’s dilemma: How can we live fully as both spiritual and material beings? Sonia has written three novels and numerous short stories. She’s a past president of Maryland Writers Association, and past editor of MWA’s Pen in Hand. Her recent artist’s book is “Where Did I Think I Was Going?,” a metaphorical journey in evocative images and text.