Marshall Everett was an undercover DEA agent who spent years infiltrating the drug cartels of South America. When he got too close to the people that he was supposed to be investigating, he was yanked from the assignment and sent to work for the Secret Service. After he took a bullet protecting the President’s wife, he retired to Paris, a city that is known for being welcoming to former members of American law enforcement.
Ariana Gregory was the daughter of the U.S. Ambassador to Argentina. When she was kidnapped by communist revolutionaries, she tried to resist the charms of their charismatic leader. But, before you could say Patty Hearst, she was pregnant and brainwashed. Fortunately, she was eventually rescued by the American forces. Unfortunately, her lover died, her father died, and she eventually had a miscarriage. A year has passed and she’s still dealing with the trauma. And where better to deal with trauma than in Paris?
When Marshall and Ariana meet …. THEY SOLVE CRIMES!
Well, actually, they bond over the fact that neither one of them feels as if they belong in their home country anymore. Both of them lost their identities in South America and now, in Europe, they can build brand new identities. They can also fall in love! Yay! Unfortunately, they’re also going to have watch their step because the brother of Ariana’s revolutionary lover is looking to kill both of them.
This a typical Danielle Steel novel, one that I found in my aunt’s collection of paperbacks and which I read two weeks ago. Though I do enjoy a good romance, I’ve never been a huge fan of Danielle Steel’s. Her prose rarely sings. The dialogue rarely crackles. The characters never really feel all that developed. That said, it’s kind of hard not to appreciate the shamelessness of Steel’s plotting. Any romance writer could come up with a story of two lost souls meeting in Paris and finding personal and spiritual redemption through their love. However, it takes a Danielle Steel to make them two lost souls who are recovering from being brainwashed in South America. It takes a Danielle Steel to ask, “What if Donnie Brasco and Patty Hearst met and fell in love?” It takes a Danielle Steel to write about the inner workings of both an international drug cartel and a left-wing revolutionary cell, despite apparently not knowing much about either. There’s an almost random, “just toss it in” feeling to the plot of Undercover that is definitely entertaining.
I guess my point is that, while I was reading Undercover, there were a lot of moments where I dramatically rolled my eyes. (Anyone who has ever watched me read a book can tell you about how much I enjoy rolling my eyes.) But the story held my interest and I certainly didn’t put the book down until I finished it. Whatever else you may want to say about the book and Steel’s style of writing, it definitely got the job done and, it should be noted, I didn’t get brainwashed while reading it. That’s the important thing.