This is the fourth book in Stuart's "Ice" series- it is Jilly and Reno's story. Jilly goes to Japan to visit her sister Summer and her husband Taka. What she does not know is that Taka and Summer are in hiding from Russian mobsters. When the mobsters go after Jilly, Reno (Taka's cousin and fellow operative) comes to her rescues. The two of them had met briefly two years previously and neither one had forgotten the other. They are thrown together while being persued by Japanese mobsters. I love Anne Stuart and have enjoyed the "Ice" series, but this was probably my least favorite book. The chemistry between Jilly and Reno was lukewarm at best and the plot was a bit weak.
I found this to be the weakest entry in the "Ice" series. Reno - the hero and undercover agent, is supposedly adept at moving about unnoticed: He has his waist length hair died crimson, has three red tears tattood on his face (no explanation for this), wears tight leather pants and jackets, and loud high heeled, pointy toed boots. He is supposedly notoriously well-known for his appearance in his home country of Japan, but is unrecognizable everywhere else, despite not having changed his appearance or manner of dress in the 2 years he's been in exile. Hmmm....
Our heroine Jilly is just 20 years old, uber-smart, but living at home with mom & dad, while going to college, and a virgin. Her entire reason for travelling to Japan is to cry on her sister's shoulder after a mildly botched first sexual experience, a premise so thin it's almost transparent. And of course the book includes **SPOILER ALERT** one of those overdone scenes where they're going to be killed by the bad guys any minute now, so instead of plotting escape, they have sex.
Implausible as all of this is, the author then admits that her entire plot involving the yakuza involves a lot of "poetic license" since the yakuza doesn't actually work the way she portrays them in the book. In fact, the yakuza "godfather" in the book operates exactly like media depictions of the Mafia in New York.
I really enjoyed the previous "Ice" books, but Stuart could have done a better job with this one. Would it have been so hard to make the plot fit the reality of yakuza in Japan? To have the characters grow up a little more from the previous books?
I cannot get enough of Anne Stuart's "Ice" series and "Fire and Ice" is no exception. Everyone of the books in the "Ice" series are fantastic! The story is full of suspense and excitement and some heart pounding love scenes. I highly recommend this book as well as Anne Stuarts other books in this series "Black Ice" is the first one. I highly recommend that you read the books in order so you will understand the characters better, they are throughout all the books.
Anne Stuart's "Ice" series books have all been satisfying reads for me, with this one exception. "Fire and Ice" isn't about grown-ups as much as it is about overgrown adolescents. The characters lack the sophistication and depth of those in the other books in the series, and without those key elements, the story is a bit disappointing.
If you are a fan of the series and have read the other books, take this one to the beach for a quick fix. If you haven't read the series, don't start with this one; start with "Black Ice".