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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Dilemma by Stephen Bentley is the second installment in the Steve Regan Undercover Cop series. The story jumps in with a literal bang, and three bombs ignite in three separate locales. The protagonist, Steve Regan, has been in Thailand living undercover as a bar and brothel owner, the latter which is run by Fon, the local manager of his female staff. The reasoning behind his undercover work comes in the form of an antagonist named Carlo Vitale, a mob boss on the run from the law and from other mafia families, and doing some of his own hiding in The Land of Smiles. It's a game of cat and mouse as Steve integrates himself as best he can into the Thai lifestyle and culture while keeping his work quiet—not a particularly easy feat when he's shuffling different agencies, intel, romance, and crime, and he's got a marker on his head that makes him as much of a target as the bad guys.
Stephen Bentley has written a really fast-paced story with non-stop action in Dilemma. I haven't read the first book in the series but this does work perfectly well as a standalone. I found the descriptive elements of life in Thailand to be most intriguing, and was pleased that Fon turned out to be more than one-dimensional eye candy. There is a lot happening in an extremely short space of time, making this crime thriller best suited for readers who don't feel the need to scratch deeper and who enjoy going straight to the plot. The good news is that book three, Rivers of Blood, is already out...so if Steve Regan becomes someone you can't live without, there is more of him to follow.