Review: Arden Powell – Reset to Zero

Author: Arden Powell
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: NineStar Press
Genre: Mm Holiday

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Summary: Agent Azzerare and the black market criminal known as Vulpe meet once a year every holiday season to collaborate on certain secret missions. Azzerare is less than enthusiastic when Management first suggests it; Vulpe is amoral, self-serving, and criminally inclined—everything Azzerare stands against. But as the years pass and the missions continue, Azzerare sees a new side of Vulpe: someone loyal, clever, and willing to risk his life to save Azzerare’s. Azzerare must decide how he feels about his partner—and if it’s love, he has to ask himself whether he’s willing to risk his career to pursue it, because an emotionally compromised agent is a dead one in Management’s eyes.

Review: Azzerare and Vulpe meet one time a year and collaborate. Azzerare is an agent, Vulpe a criminal but Azzerare follows orders and that is what Management wants. Our story starts on their tenth “anniversary” of these clandestine meetings. They are sort of reminiscing, in a way, even as Azzerare admits he might be getting to old for this job.

The book goes back to their past and fills in the history of these two, who only see each other at the holidays once a year. It was interesting to see the changes in the agent, especially, who is asked to kill and topple governments and never question Management. Or Control, for that matter, who has a little more humanity. Bombs, knockouts, kidnapping, watching over your friend? Enemy? Coworker? Not sure what to call these two, but they have a connection, these two. This last mission, however, could be the one that makes or breaks their relationship.

I loved the softer side. The cards – “They were all signed with x’s and sometimes o’s too; this year it looked as if the x’s might be doing something inappropriate with some of the o’s,…” ; the conversations in the worst situations about maybes of the future, and the fact that Vulpe is the more romantic of the two. And that Talbot, his handler, and Control both look out for him as well as they can.

A criminal who isn’t important to Management and an agent who is too involved don’t have many options but I loved how they tried.

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