THE SIREN'S STING is the second Stevie Duveen novel from Miranda Darling, following on from THE TROIKA DOLLS.
These books are thrillers, featuring Stevie who works as a risk assessor in the personal / company protection game. Starting off much where the first book ended, Stevie has been assigned to mind a temperamental opera star travelling on a luxury cruise near Somalia when pirates strike. Helping drive off this attack, there's something a little odd about how easily the pirates withdraw. But there's not a lot of time to consider that until later, as Stevie undertakes her next job - working on a threat assessment for the young son of her bosses ex Clémence Krok and her now husband Vaughan.
Stevie has very little trouble posing as a jet-setting party girl friend of Clémence, cruising around on the Krok's luxury yacht, surrounded by a suitably threatening cast of arms dealers, aristocrats and billionaires. To say nothing of love interest Henning and his very glamorous mother.
Needless to say there's going to be a connection between all this luxurious sailing around, Krok's mercenary army and arms dealing, the pirates and just about everybody in this circle, even including the glamorous opera star and the Greek billionaire she picks up on the original voyage.
THE SIREN'S STING takes what was originally more than just a tad of James Bond type scenarios and settings in the first book and slathers that on plus some. There's glorious women, sinister men, arms-dealing, money, diamonds, luxury yachts, fancy speedboats and all sorts of elaborate machinery and gadgets. There is a plot as well, and whilst there doesn't seem to be quite as much action from Stevie as there was in the first book she's not above a bit of combat, and her own life is under real threat at a few points. There's also an interesting twist with another female character who starts out being one of the villains and comes across to the good side just when she's needed.
It really has to be remembered that both of these books are thrillers - they are entertaining, slightly frenetic, often borderline unbelievable and fast paced. The plot in THE SIREN'S STING is made up of quite a few elements, which you know are going to come together (it's a thriller after all!) but there's some nice twists and turns along the way. There's a sprinkle of romantic tension, there's a fair bit of sightseeing around glamorous locations and there is a particularly big twist at the end, telegraphing book 3 in the series. Undoubtedly there's some aspects of this ending that are a risky undertaking for an author. It's either going to excite some readers with the possibility of what's to come, or disappoint other readers who hate that sort of "and in our next episode" closing.
Either way, I really liked the first book in this series (THE TROIKA DOLLS). In THE SIREN'S STING Stevie did feel a little more subdued, but really, for a reader like me who wouldn't recognise a "Brand" if she fell over it, who breaks out in an allergic reaction at all that "socialite" stuff and gags at the sight of too much romantic twaddle, I was hugely entertained and happy to spend some time with Stevie Duveen. As far as I'm concerned - bring on the third book.