Dee Henderson is one of my favorite authors, so I am always alert to her new releases. I’ve had Undetected on the shelf while I tried to be a good girl and keep to some of my reading commitments before delving into it, but I finally gave myself permission.
Most people acquainted with Mark Bishop only know he is a Navy submarine commander. In truth he is one of a small number of people “entrusted with half the U. S. deployed nuclear arsenal” (p. 12). He commands one of a few a ballistic submarines that is on patrol every 90 days, switching off with other submarines for the next 90. Though ready to launch a nuclear missile if ordered to by the president, their mission is to try to keep peace and to observe trouble spots. He is a widower with no children and is just starting to think about dating again.
Gina Gray is nearly 30 and unmarried, though she wants to be. Her relationships seem to end with the guy giving the “It’s not you, it’s me” speech. With above average intelligence (to put it mildly), she sailed through school and college at early ages. Though she has a vast number of interests, her brother’s being a submariner led her to map the ocean floors to help subs avoid accidents and find optimal places to hide. Further discoveries lead to improvements in sonar readings, each one further into classified territory, hugely helpful to the US but dangerous if its enemies should make the same discoveries. Thus she finds herself with a security detail posted around the clock for her safety.
Since Gina’s brother is one of Mark’s close friends, they’ve met before, but never considered each other as potential for a relationship for various reasons, chiefly their age difference. But as Gina’s work brings them into closer contact, Mark begins to see qualities he admires. He may be too late, though, as she begins dating another submariner.
Though Dee’s books are usually action-packed and suspenseful, that aspect of the story only came in the last part of the book. But I’m fine with that. The details of submarine life and Gina’s work were fascinating. In a previous book where a couple of characters dealt with rare coins, I felt there was too much detail for the average reader and it bogged down the story a bit. I didn’t feel that way in this story: there was enough detail to make it understandable, to make you feel like you were watching over someone’s shoulder, but not so much that an average reader would feel it is too technical. I’m wondering if Dee has spent time on a sub or was in the Navy: her portrayal seemed pretty realistic to me. I wondered, too, how much of Gina’s sonar work was real and in use or just from Dee’s imagination.
I’m not much for “romance for romance’s sake” books, but Dee’s books are rich in story and are mature: I don’t mean just that the characters are a bit older, but after recently finishing a different book that would be classified as a romance that I can only describe as silly, I am glad that Dee’s books aren’t that. I also like that the characters seek the Lord’s will in a genuine way.
I like the multiple shades of the book’s title, dealing with the sub’s need to stay undetected, the value of being able to see other vessels previously undetectable, and Mark and Gina’s finding value in each other previously undetected.
Bryce and Charlotte Bishop from Unspoken make an appearance in this book: Bryce is Mark’s brother. But you don’t have to have read that story first in order to understand this one. The only problem if you read them in reverse would be knowing Charlotte’s true identity, which is part of the mystery in that book.
There were just a couple of places I felt could have used a bit more editing: a couple of places that seemed repetitive, and awkward sentence or two. I thought the “competition” between two men for Gina’s interest was handled more maturely than it probably would have happened in real life. But those are all minor criticisms.
Overall I loved this book and feel Dee has another winner on her hands.
(This will also be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books.)