A seasoned photojournalist, Bess Grady has honed her craft in the trouble spots of the world. But witnessing the horrors of Somalia and Sarajevo hasn't prepared her for what waits in a small-town paradise - as an easy assignment turns into a desperate journey into fear.
Sunlight bathes the town square. A balmy breeze is blowing. Yet nothing else is as it should be. The unimaginable has happened here, and Bess Grady and her sister Emily have unwittingly stumbled right into the middle of it. As chaos and confusion reign, Emily disappears, Bess is taken captive - and escape seems impossible. But when rescue comes from a totally unexpected source, Bess is unprepared for the chilling truth.
Tenajo was a testing ground - the first stage in a twisted game plan designed to spread terror, at the cost of countless innocent lives. It is the brainchild of ruthless conspirators whose next target may be the heartland of the United States. Now Bess must join forces with the intimidating stranger who led her out of Tenajo, a man whose motives are suspect, whose alliances are unclear, and whose methods have a way of leaving bodies in his wake. For she will do anything - risk everything - to find her sister, to keep her family safe, and to stop the conspirators from completing their carefully orchestrated plan of destruction.
©1997 Iris Johansen; (P)1997 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House, Inc.
Faced with constant life or death situations as part of an overall terrorist blackmail plot which threatens thousands of lives, the heroine constantly refuses advice of the CIA operative who saved her life. Her actions which, I suspect were meant to signify forceful independence, come across as self centered obstinacy. She is originally presented as a caring person. This makes the constant refusals to protect the one thing that would save innocent lives difficult to accept as true. That the CIA and the Center for Disease Control would let her goes beyond belief.
I have always enjoyed books by this author, but this one was quite outstanding. I had a hard time turning this one off once I got startted. The narrator also did a great job on this one, as she did on Critical Judgement, which was also a great read. If you are in to suspenseful mysteries then I suggest you check this one out.
I started listening to this author's books with the Eve Duncan and Sarah Patrick series. I love Ms. Johansen's story ideas and character development, but find her writing skills lacking. She uses the same phrases ad nauseum (fill in the blank feeling surged through her and XYZ shrugged off her backpack) and she uses big words awkwardly where a simpler term is more appropriate. It reminds me of days in high school when I would try to use "fancy words" to make my writing sound older. I find the lead character, Bess Grady, in this book to be Eve Duncan renamed (or the other way around, I'm not sure which book was written first). IMHO, Ms. Johansen should use that wonderful knack for character development to do just that, develop another character. I'm about half way through the book and bored with the "anything you can do I can do better", head strong heroine who is arrogantly ignoring the CIA Operative who actually HAS experience escaping the bad guy.
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