Some novels ease you into the story by orienting the reader to a new location, slowly introducing the cast of characters with each of their various personality traits, and stealthily dropping hints of the plot that will soon begin to unfold. Let’s be clear, Dana Cameron’s Exit Interview is not that type of book. Readers who have previously read the a.k.a. Jayne short stories will know to expect an action-packed, no-holds-barred narrative with an ass-kicking, take-no-names heroine, but even they may find themselves holding on for dear life as Exit Interview speeds along, never stopping to look back.
When the death of a well-known arms dealer is witnessed by Amy Lindstrom, an investigative reporter based in Washington D.C., it begins an off-the-books investigation that will ultimately reach the highest levels—exposing conspiracies and unexpected bias that exist all around us. Jayne Rogers, an undercover agent/spy/asset is being framed to take the fall for this killing, but those readers who are familiar with Jayne will know she is not going down without a fight—and if Jayne fights, she’s bound to win. This duo needs a tech genius, and that role goes to Nicole Bradley, who steps up to be the inside computer expert—a loyal friend when Jayne needs one most.
The plot of Exit Interview cleverly hangs on the specialized skills of these three formidable women. As each puts their part in the larger plan into action, readers witness their talent for exposing the truth. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of errors and miscalculations along the way, but as a team, these women have it going on and nothing will stop them.
Told via these three point-of-view characters, readers might be reminded of Charlie’s Angels—without the need for Charlie, a sexiness that doesn’t rely on the overt, and a bit more diversity to reflect the real world. The shifting POVs are successful here as each woman is unique and what they bring to the table individually fulfills different requirements for the overall story. Dana Cameron is a writer who can convey these varying personalities with little extraneous information and pinpoint accuracy in narrative style. Even though the character focus for each section is clearly stated in the chapter title, readers would easily know from whose perspective they are witnessing the action simply from the shifts in Cameron’s writing styles.
A Dana Cameron novel without some sly humor wouldn’t ring true, so the author makes sure to interlace these heavy action sequences with intelligent one-liners and subtle gags that serve to release the tension momentarily before thrusting readers back into the thick of danger. And let’s not forget that Jayne’s heart is always in the right place and that shines through once again in Exit Interview.
It can be tricky to take a short story character and expand that into a full-length novel, but Dana Cameron makes it look easy. She clearly knows Jayne Rogers extremely well, but what is so great to watch is how these other two women become fully rounded characters right before the reader’s eyes. This team of women working together for a greater good proves that the spy game is no longer solely the domain of older, white men and readers are fortunate it was written by an author who is every bit as much of a fighter as her creations. Add Exit Interview to your reading list, but pick up some aspirin and muscle relaxers as well—you are going to need them after this tense and exciting read.
Disclaimer: A digital galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the author. No promotion was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.