Risky Maneuvers

Title: Risky Maneuvers
Author: Barbara Sheridan & Aleksandr Voinov
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary Military-ish Thriller/Romance/Sci Fi
Length: Novella (85 pages)
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

A Guest Review by Aunt Lynn

One Sentence Review: A really good read until the aliens were brought in.

This review contains what could be considered spoilers


A mercenary for the past decade, Mikhail Volkov is a man without a country and that suits him just fine. Playing by his own rules, on his own terms, for the price he sets, is the way he likes it best. But when a CIA contact dangles a carrot he can’t resist to entice him into a clandestine search-and-rescue, Mikhail is brought face–to-face with the biggest foe he has yet to vanquish: his own loneliness.

Growing up, Devon ‘D’ Dearborn planned to follow in his father’s footsteps as part of the Army’s Delta Force. Once commissioned, D’s own ambitions took root and he became a top-level tank commander, occasionally serving as a go-between for his CIA-employed brother and a sexy Russian mercenary. When his doubts about his chosen career and his own sexual desires impacted the perfection he demanded of himself, D resigned his commission and exchanged his Abrams tank for an 18-wheeler.

After six years, the last face D expects to see when he pulls his rig into a truck stop is that of Mikhail Volkov. D wants nothing to do with his brother’s cloak-and-dagger job, but the temptation of working alongside the Russian is too hard to resist. And so is the sexy Russian.


Risky Maneuvers is the first book by Aleksandr Voinov and the second by Barbara Sheridan that I’ve read. I was impressed by the writing and the character development and I would definitely read more by them if this is what I would find.

The story opens with free-agent Russian mercenary Mikhail — “Misha” — in Afghanistan trying to give advice to a base commander who isn’t listening, only to be approached by CIA operative Sam offering him a new assignment. The agent knows Misha well and plays the card of the opportunity to work with Sam’s brother, Devon, again. Misha and D have a history both in battle and between the sheets, so even though he feels like he’s being played, he takes the bait and hops a plane back to the States. First part of the assignment: find D, who left the military six years ago and is now driving a long-haul truck. Once he locates D, they head off to be briefed about their assignment, though not before smexxin it up a bit and discovering that neither the chemistry nor feelings between them have changed at all. What they find out in the briefing has D’s head spinning: aliens do exist and their mission could be more dangerous than anything either of them has experienced before.

What I liked:

I loved our heroes, who were very well-written and fleshed and had almost palpable chemistry. Their smexxin scenes were smokin’ and I found a depth of feelings there that surprised me for  a relatively short read. I loved how they were rough, playful and tender at the same time, and open to talking (I really enjoyed their dialog, which felt real and easy to me). They charmed me and I was really rooting for them. I am hoping for a sequel — something without aliens this time, please — as the ending seemed…unfinished.

Also, I was sucked into and engrossed by the first part of the book (really any part that didn’t have the aliens in it). I thought the plot was believable and I was really interested in seeing where their reunion would take them and us.

What I didn’t:

The entire aliens plotline. Okay, I admit that I didn’t know it was going to be sci-fi because the blurb doesn’t mention it and there is no indication on the cover and I hadn’t seen it on the LI site to get the sub-genre before reading it. To me, it looked like an interesting spy-y/military thriller/romance, so I snatched it up. I was so blown away — in not a good way — that it brought what would have been probably a 4.5 star or even higher rating down to what you see. The story went from this pretty great meet-after-six-years-and-oh-I-can’t-wait-to-get-you-in-the-sack-even-though-we’re-totally-tough-guys-and-we’re-going-on-a-secret-mission-hoo-ya! credible story to an X-Files farce. Sci-Fi isn’t my cuppa, but I was willing to put my biases aside to see where it was going to go (I have surprised myself in the past with taking chances and reading outside my comfort zone). I just couldn’t get past the borderline silliness that was this part of the tale.


Risky Maneuvers could be of interest to fans of the authors and readers of Sci Fi (if you like aliens stories).


  • Thanks for the review. I had been wondering why this was classed as sci-fi because nothing in the blurb or the excerpt on Loose Id’s site gave any indication of anything unusual. It looked like a good story but not sci-fi. Aliens, eh….hm. I’ll think about it. 😉

  • Before I make a decision, I’d like to ask a question. Your review of the SF part of the story reminds me of reviews of “The Abyss” and “The Green Mile.” In those two cases, reviewers said the movies would have been better without the SF or paranormal plotlines. Did you like those two movies and/or do you agree with the reviews that I mention?


    • I am not Aunt Lynn, but I thought I may answer anyway, since I also disliked the aliens. I have not seen The Abyss, but I loved the Green Mile, no I do not think the paranormal element here is nearly as organic as it was in Green Mile.

      But I would definitely still recommend the book, aliens or not :). Anyway, my unasked opinion 🙂

  • Thank you for your review. I loved The X-Files, so I am going to put this on my to-read list. Sexy Russians and aliens are my thing. *g*

  • OMG yes yes and yes. I loved everything except the aliens, they poked at me out of this story and not in a good way. I decided I will be imagining they were sent to retrieve something else from somebody else lol when I will be rereading parts of the story that I loved. And I love sci fi and fantasy, LOVE it. But I usually expect some sort of pointers that this world is the futuristic world, not just drop the aliens on me out of nowhere. 🙂 Thanks for the great review as always . It looks like I always agree with your reviews if I have read the book already too hehe.

    • My pleasure, Sirius.

      I decided I will be imagining they were sent to retrieve something else from somebody else lol when I will be rereading parts of the story that I loved.

      You and me both! When I re-read it the second time for my review, I felt myself leaning toward that as well.

      • I loved everything else in the story, loved the chemistry between guys, as you said such intensity and it is rather short, sometimes I read the story and think and where is that attraction? These two definitely did not leave me cold 🙂

  • Lynn,

    I pretty much consider your reviews gospel because 99.9% of the time, I find them reflective of my own views. If you say “borderline silliness” then I guess that’s what I’ll find. I’ll keep this in mind though, because anything on two tough, hot guys in bed (and out of it) is a riveting read for me. However, I already know that I’m going to skip some pages. That’s the great thing about reading for pleasure! 🙂

    • Good morning Ebi. It’s always nice to find someone who has damn near the same reading tastes as I do. 🙂 I think that I would say that it’s worth picking up for everything else but the aliens plotline.

    • Hi Larissa. Yeah, aliens. It was a surprise to me as well. If you are good with that plot device, then you probably would like it as well.


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