All the Wrong Moves

I usually like to try and match up my book review choices with the topic of the week but I couldn’t find a book on discounts and deals for veterans so I decided to review a fun little book instead, Merline Lovelace’s All the Wrong Moves.

Lovelace is a retired Air Force Colonel, Vietnam veteran, and former Support Wing Commander at Eglin AFB. After she and her husband, also a retired Air Force Colonel and Vietnam veteran, left the service, Lovelace decided to try her hand at writing, drawing on her military experiences for many of her books. It turned out to be such a good choice that she’s published over 70 books, been named Oklahoma’s Writer of the Year and Female Veteran of the Year, and won the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award. She writes everything from mystery to romance to historical fiction and her books have been on USA Today’s Bestseller List and are in print in over thirty countries.

I chose to read All the Wrong Moves, the first in her Samantha Spade series. Samantha Spade is a brand new lieutenant and a very unlikely one at that – she only joined up because she caught her husband with another woman (don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler, she reveals that very early on). Spade finds herself stuck in the west Texas desert (an area of the world I am familiar with from my own time in the service), testing “gadgets and gizmos” for DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, with a team of quirky military and civilian members. Things go sideways for Spade when she literally trips over two dead bodies while testing an Ergonomic Exoskeletal Extension, or EEEK (pun intended, I think), in the middle of the night.

The story starts with the sentence, “Our latest test project arrived on-site exactly four days before I got a boot full of decomposing human flesh.” It then rolls through the next two hundred or so pages of car chases, explosions, and even a love interest (Border Patrol hottie Jeff “Mitch” Mitchell) with Spade being amusingly sarcastic and poking fun at the military, while simultaneously trying not to admit that she might actually like wearing the uniform. It uses all the tricks of the trade along the way – chapter endings that leave you wanting to turn the page to see what happens next, dropping hints that foreshadow the calamities to come, and creating characters that come to life on the page.

While it is well written and an easy read, ultimately, this book isn’t going to reveal any of life’s mysteries to you. What it will do is let you, for at least a little while, return to the world of combat boots and acronyms – something I know I need from time to time. If you’re looking for an entertaining way to pass a couple of hours or feeling a little nostalgic about your glory days in the service, I suggest you pick up All the Wrong Moves at your local bookstore or library (that’s where I found the copy I read).

Or, if you’re looking for a little romance, check out one of her new Harlequin™ books coming out soon – Course of Action (due out this month) or The Diplomat’s Pregnant Bride (out in December).

To read more about Merline Lovelace or find a list of other books she’s written, you can head to her website at

© 2013 – 2020, Sarah Maples LLC. All rights reserved.

Sarah Maples is a former Air Force intelligence officer and an Afghanistan veteran. She is a freelance writer and editor, specializing in veteran, military, and defense topics.

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    ROMVETS | After the DD-214
    10 February 2014 at 16:29

    […] started in 2002 when a group of writers, including retired Air Force Colonel Merline Lovelace, attended a romance writers’ conference and discovered they were all former military. Over the […]

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