Galactic Enforcer Lawn Bascomb finally stands on the threshold of accomplishing her dream, a dream she's dedicated her life working toward. She's about to depart Earth for guard post duty in Area 6Y, on the very fringes of the galaxy. She'll spend one year there, her ship anchored to a buoy as she watches for any and all threats to Earth. There's nothing she desires more than the precious solitude it will bring her. One whole year of it, with no one to stare at her or look away all too quickly from the awfulness of her facial deformity. Her only company will be Deep, the male AI installed in her Vogt ship.
Deep is one of only four experimental spaceships that incorporate distinctly different artificially enhanced intelligences created specifically for deep space duty.He's been waiting months for this time alone with Lawn. Able to project a holographic representation of himself, Deep is not only handsome and sexy, he's the very image of a man Lawn’s been fantasizing about ever since he smiled at her, despite her disfigurement. He quickly becomes so much more than her shipboard computer. He becomes her friend and then her lover, making her feel beautiful for the first time in her life.
When they're faced with certain death from a natural cataclysm that also threatens Earth, Deep knows he must save Lawn and Earth, even if the price is his own life. For Lawn, without Deep, her future isn't worth a plugged nickel. Or is it?
Deep by Linda Mooney deviates from all her other Sci-Fi romances I've read, and I've read quite a few. It tells the story of love found between an artificially intelligent spaceship and “his” flesh and blood female pilot. Through Ms. Mooney's skillful writing, it doesn't take the reader long to start viewing Deep as a sentient, emotional male being instead of merely a sexless thinking machine. Both Lawn and Deep are animated, believable, and sympathetic. I especially loved Deep and his emotional depth. He loves Lawn with all his “heart,” despite the horribly disfigured left side of her face.
Although the book did wring some tears from me – one of the tests a book must pass for me to give it anything above 4 kisses – I had a couple issues. Despite having a surprise ending that can be classified as HEA, I didn't find it a desirable ending, no matter how apropos it is, following as it does, in the wake of tragedy. I also finished the book with one burning question. How did Lawn's face become disfigured and what did it actually look like? Although Ms. Mooney goes to great lengths to elaborate on how her disfigured face affects her life and the way she views herself, her vague description of the actual injury, burn, or birth defect – or whatever it is – leaves a lot to be desired, which is a criticism I don't think I've ever had for a Mooney book.
That said, if you love Ms. Mooney's Sci-Fi romances or you're looking for something a bit different in the genre, pick up Deep and see what you think of it.