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Today we are really pleased to welcome back New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee with book two of her Richter Series – A Thin Disguise.
A Thin Disguise by Catherine Bybee
Review by Elise Cooper
A Thin Disguise by Catherine Bybee delves into forgiveness, love, and redemption. There are very few authors that can write a riveting mystery with gripping characters. Bybee does both along with humorous dialogue, a lot of action, and romance.
The story has FBI Agent Leo Grant working a protective detail for a child witness against a Russian mob boss engaging in sex trafficking. Olivia Naught, a former assassin and Richter student, is working the same detail for MacBain Security, keeping her eye on the witness and the people protecting her. Although Olivia knows about Leo, he knows nothing about her. They meet on the Las Vegas Strip where Olivia takes a bullet meant for Leo. Following this incident, she suffers amnesia. To protect her and to make Olivia a permanent part of the team, MacBain Security seizes upon the opportunity of her memory loss to show her, with help from the smitten Leo, the new life she could have if she no longer worked alone. As Olivia’s memories return, she feels guilt and unworthy of love because of her past. The team, Leo, and Olivia try to figure out who is responsible for the shooting, while the unlikely pairing of Leo, an FBI Agent and Olivia, a former assassin, navigate their personal feelings and chemistry for each other.
Olivia realizes how much she cares for the team and decides to disappear, fearful if she stays, she will jeopardize their lives. She has wit, strength, and intelligence. Bybee does an excellent job is peeling away all the layers of this female protagonist.
The Bybee readers are once again treated to another wonderful story. The team of Claire Kelly, Cooper Lockman, Jax Simon, Sasha and A.J. Hoffman and Neil and Gwen McBain joined by Olivia and Leo are riveting characters. They are not only a team but a pseudo family who care, protect, and do anything for each other. It is a story of characters who survive in spite of the circumstances of their pasts. Hopefully, this series will continue with a lot of future books that have this team of characters. It is one of those series that should have a book out every year.
Interview with Catherine Bybee
Elise Cooper: This series has characters from previous books?
Catherine Bybee: If someone is a Bybee reader they know there will be glimpses of character crossovers between series. I hope to continue writing with this team. It comes down to the publisher asking for more books from the Richter Series. I would love to write a Richter espionage book every year.
EC: Olivia is from previous books?
CB: She showed up in Sasha’s book, Say It Again, and briefly in the first book of this series, Changing The Rules, along with Leo. Each book can be read on their own.
EC: You definitely redeemed Olivia in this book?
CB: She was an assassin, but I wanted her to be sympathetic. The only way I could do that is to have her get Transient Amnesia. Once she could not remember anything she became the person who was a student at Richter. She felt connected to the team and knows she can count on them. She allowed herself to feel for others.
EC: How would you describe assassin Olivia?
CB: She was afraid to love because she did not want anything to happen to those she cared about. After she had graduated from Richter, she thought she was being a spy who was good and altruistic. She did not see the sinister side because she was young and naïve. She wanted to connect but would not allow herself to. Both Olivia’s are bold, stubborn, and independent.
EC: How would you describe the relationship between Leo and Olivia?
CB: A tug of war. In the beginning she was in charge, but after she is shot, he gets some control until she gets her memory back. Once that happens, she has an internal battle. Overall, they are two peas in a pot that are attracted to each other. She would not have fallen for him if he was not an FBI Agent. I think she was more of a teaser than Leo.
EC: Do you think Sasha, the lead of the book Say It Again, is similar to Olivia?
CB: No, they are different. Sasha is not as damaged or jaded as Olivia. If Sasha put a bullet in somebody, she knew why she was doing it. Olivia is the alias character who never got a say in who she killed. Sasha had people who loved her as well as freedoms in her life whereas Olivia is always on the run. Sasha did care for Olivia and made sure she got what she needed to survive. Sasha and the team were a pseudo-family. In all my books the family is not blood relatives because of my own personal life.
EC: Who do you identify more with, Sasha or Olivia?
CB: Sasha is the hero to my own heart. She is the best operative. I could see Sasha as a heroine on the big screen. Sasha can be clandestine and lethal, but she is also someone who supports other women. Olivia knew if the chips would fall, Sasha would have her back.
EC: How would you describe Leo?
CB: He gave Olivia humanity and heart. He is outgoing, loyal, and assertive, helping Olivia make choices in her life.
EC: Claire and Jax, the younger generation, are not the same personality types as Sasha and Olivia?
CB: They have more of a sense of humor, are spunkier, and more demonstrative. I think that is because they were never faced with the sinister side of Richter. Sasha actually helped Claire get out, so she did not turn into Olivia. Claire and Jax are huggers and more happy- go- lucky. What I wanted to show is how different people from the same place have different home lives with different families.
EC: How were you able to write about the details of a sniper?
CB: I own certain weapons. Since I am a successful single female, I am not afraid of having weapons to protect me. I have used many of the guns I describe. What is interesting and ironic is that I found out the teams I made up exist and I got it right. If I think about it, then it probably has been done professionally.
EC: What about your next books?
CB: The next Richter book will be Jax’s story. The title is An Unexpected Distraction, out in November of this year. This book will come full circle, but I am hoping there is a clamoring for more in the series. I love writing these characters and want to write them for some time.
I am currently working on a non-espionage book, but more women’s fiction, set in San Diego. It is family driven and inspired by my own life. I have to deal with putting my elderly father in an assisted living residence. It is hard to try to create, while taking care of someone else.
If you enjoyed this interview, you may also like…
Changing the Rules – Book One of the Richter Series by Catherine Bybee!
A Thin Disguise by Catherine Bybee
A Thin Disguise by Catherine Bybee
A former gun for hire and a federal agent find themselves on the right side of love but the wrong end of a bullet in this Richter installment from New York Times bestselling author Catherine Bybee.
On a fateful night in Las Vegas, FBI agent Leo Grant is working on a critical detail in a high-profile child prostitution trial when a beautiful woman jumps into the path of a bullet meant for him. Little does Leo know that the woman is Olivia, an ex-assassin who is seeking redemption one good deed at a time.
One minute, Olivia is lunging in front of Leo on the Vegas Strip. The next, she’s waking up in the hospital in a haze of pain with no memory of her past, her enemies, or even her own name.
With Olivia suffering from memory loss and completely unaware of the danger she is in, it’s up to Leo and Neil MacBain’s team of operatives to keep her safe. With Olivia and Leo both unaware of her past crimes, the two have little reason to avoid their growing attraction. Slowly her past seeps in through the cracks as she struggles to find the answers of who she is. When the veil is lifted and her dark past is staring her down, Olivia must turn her back on Leo and the love she can never allow herself to have, and race to find her would-be killer.