Most likely, this book could be read as a stand-alone or as a "try-out" for the series. While I liked this book, I also found it easy to set aside. So I didn't like that end of this book...though there wasn't a lot of that. Which is one of the things I like about this book - the ending. I like endings where the plot resolution is drawn out a little bit and where there's a final chapter wrapping up the romance angle. The romance was okay...I liked Honey and Smith, but I wouldn't really say either character, or their romance, was particularly memorable. One thing I really missed in this book was the "Steele Street / SDF" vibe. The past books in this series were all centered around SDF (Special Defense Force) and the Steele Street, their bad-ass headquarters. Since that dynamic is part of what made this series so great, having it missing in this story really took something away from the book.
Soon the action picks up, involving Smith and Honey with South American rebels, drug lords, a downed plane with CIA connections, nuns, an out of place American school teacher, and an ex-girlfriend who once left Smith for dead and is now determined to finish the job. I enjoyed the characters of Smith and Honey, and although their story ended satisfactorily, I would have liked the book to concentrate a bit more on their relationship. This was a little disappointing, as I thoroughly enjoyed the way the previous books had more of the Steele Street characters involved.
Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars Not a whole lot to say about On the Looseexcept that it was just as absurdly entertaining as the previous six books in this series. Smith Rydell had put it, it takes a lot of forethought and guts just to pull all the adventure she ends up pulling, both in this current story line as well as the previous book's story line. Meanwhile, the drug lord, Alejandro Campos, was a lot more interesting to follow--which I'm glad about, since he'll be our next hero in the next book, along with Lily Robbins, the school teacher who decided to take a sabbatical and ended up running for her life and then into Campos's life. On a side note, there was a lot less about cars and guns in this book than there has been present among previous books.
This one just didn't have the OTT, fun-filled, adrenaline-fuelled, crazy/sexy ride that you'll find in the earlier books. Smith Rydell in Crazy Sweet, so the fact that their book was lacking the magic of Janzen's signature style was a double disappointment.
This book had a different element to it since they were in South America and not Denver, so it actually had more of a Cindy Gerard feel, whom I love, and I thought it worked it quite well.
Unfortunately I learned this lesson with this book.
Overall Rating: 4.95 // Action: 5 / Emotion: 4.5 / Romance: 4 / Sensuous: 4 / Suspense: 5 // Laughter: 14 / Tears: 0 When I was reading Tara Janzen's Steele Street Series books back to back, had no idea that Janzen considered the 'Loose'-titled books a spin-off from the 'Crazy'-titled books. The conclusion made sense because I was excited about reading Smith and Honey's story, which was to be featured in On The Loose -- but met and loved them in Crazy Sweet. In the six 'Crazy' books of the series Janzen interwove into the main story line a mini-romance involving future protagonists. Rather than write a mini-romance between the two characters that were to be featured in the next book of the series, Janzen choose instead to introduce the hero- and heroine-to-be and ignite a bit of interest between them as they played out their respective roles in Smith and Honey's story. Smith Rydell and Honoria "Honey" York-Lytton. No couple in the series has created as many laughs as Smith and Honey. Smith is shocked to find that the amazing pilot the agency is looking for is none other than Irena Polchenko, an ex-lover. One has to wonder if Janzen is setting up a suspenseful structure for future books.) Another truth was Honey wanted to make the trip to El Salvador because she has not heard from her sister, Julia Ann-Marie Bakkert (a perpetual do-gooder) in twelve weeks. Honey did not, however, reveal this fact to Smith -- she just keep shooting down his efforts to keep her from making the trip. As Smith and Honey travel to El Salvador to deliver the weapons and briefcase to ransom the governmental pouch that Diego Garcia confiscated from the plane that crashed near his camp, they renew their relationship. Neither Smith nor Honey have forgotten their short time together in San Luis. (Sure do seem to have a lot of female gunslingers in this series.) Irena is aided by two characters that play very minor roles in the story. Since one of my compulsive behaviors is to collect all the books of a series before reading even the first one, it stands to reason (that by Book Seven) it was easy to pick up on Janzen's obvious hint about Alejandro Campos' true identity. After going to great effort to develop the many characters and multiple story lines of these numerous different factions, Janzen then leads them all to Campos Plantation, Morazán Province, El Salvador for a big, action-packed, spine-tingling, and a bit surprising finish. Could not wait to see how Janzen was going to write her way out of all corners she got Smith and Honey into.
STORY BRIEF: Honey is a wealthy socialite living in Washington D.C. Her sister Julia is a nun working in an orphanage in El Salvador. Because Honey has visited Julia before, the US government wants Honey to deliver money and arms to Diego. Honey wants to go because she thinks her sister might need her help. Smith is a US special forces soldier who is assigned to go with Honey to protect her. DATA: Story length: 403 pages.