Book Review: The Takedown by Carlie Walker

  • Title: The Takedown
  • Author: Carlie Walker
  • Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Genre: Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Holiday
  • Would I recommend: This is a snarky, fun take on the enemies to lovers romance. And it’s set at Christmas! Lots of fun!


An undercover CIA agent is sent home to investigate her sister’s criminal fiancé but the last thing she expects is to fall in love with his bodyguard along the way in this sexy romantic comedy.

It’s been a long time since Sydney Swift has gone home. An unrelentingly successful CIA field officer, she has spent the last three years pretending to be someone — anyone — other than herself.

But this year, the festive season is coming with some added surprises. Sydney’s beloved little sister has just announced that she’s engaged to Johnny Jones, the heir of an organized crime dynasty. With her built-in cover and her best-in-class reputation, Sydney is approached by the FBI as their way to infiltrate the Jones family at last.

Sydney has until Christmas to gather enough evidence on Johnny to take him down before he pulls off his most dangerous heist yet, all without losing her sister forever. But she hasn’t counted on the challenge of pulling this off right under her family’s nose or the complications of a romantic entanglement with Johnny’s handsome friend and bodyguard, Nick. Sydney always gets her man — but this time love is a target she can’t afford to miss.

My review:

Carlie Walker gives us a zesty holiday-themed treat with The Takedown!

Sydney Swift is an undercover agent for the CIA. She’s very good at what she does. And she hasn’t been home in a very long time, because, well, undercover. She’s missed a lot of Christmases with her family. But this year is different. This year, the FBI has recruited her for a mission to take down organized crime heir Johnny Jones, so Sydney is going home for the holidays. Oh, did we mention that Sydney’s adored younger sister, Calla, is engaged to said organized crime heir? Yeah, there’s that. How will Sydney accomplish this without breaking her sister’s heart and without giving herself away to her family?

Walker gives us characters that are believable in their roles. I really liked Sydney. She’s a butt-kickin’ secret agent who loves her little sister deeply and will do anything to protect her. And it was hard not to like Nick, too, even when I wasn’t sure where his loyalties really lay. He was not what you’d really picture for a crime lord’s bodyguard – he had some surprising depth. Grandma Ruby was an absolute delight. I should be so spry and sassy when I’m her age! And Sydney’s relationship with Calla as a sister who’s been absent for far longer than she should was spot on.

Sydney’s efforts to charm Nick are wonderfully written. She’s determined to break him down to get to Johnny. Her little sister’s well-being is at stake. But could she be actually attracted to him? She fights it for all she’s worth, and there are twists in the plot that make you wonder who’s really doing the seducing here. And the snark! The funny! There were a couple of things that made me laugh out loud. Walker did a great job of infusing humor into her story.

When things finally click for Sydney and Nick (because you know they do), there’s a little more on-page spice than I look for in my books. It’s not an overwhelming part of the story. I’m mentioning it in case there are others who share my preference for clean romance that might like to know.

Carlie Walker gives us a zesty little treat with action, tension, enemies to lovers, plot twists, family relationships, and just the right amount of Christmas cheer! This book was really a lot of fun to read. If you’re looking for a quick holiday-themed read to take your mind off the stress that can build up this time of year, I strongly recommend The Takedown.

Thanks to Berkley and the author for a review copy. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.

This entry was posted in Berkley, Book Reviews, Christmas, Contemporary Fiction, Holiday, Romance, Thriller and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.