Thursday, June 03, 2010

All The Wrong Moves - Merline Lovelace

All The Wrong Moves
A Samantha Spade Mystery
Merline Lovelace
Berkley Prime Crime


Samantha Spade is a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force. Her job consists of running a team of scientists (mostly civilian) that test inventions with possible military applications. Her team tests submissions not deemed important or exciting enough for the Department of Defense. During one of these tests in the desert of West Texas, Samantha literally runs over two dead bodies.

Turns out one of the bodies belonged to an American mercenary and arms dealer. Clearly, whoever killed him and his pal figured the desert would make short work of the body long before it could be found. Since that person was wrong, Samantha meets Jeff Mitchell, a Border Patrol Agent and several other members of several feuding official jurisdictions. One of those would be the FBI, whose agent tells her in no uncertain terms to stay out of it. Naturally, she is unable to do so, especially when someone sets fire to her team’s desert lab.

This is the first in a series, and is written in first-person pov by Samantha. Clearly, she’s supposed to sound mid-20s, but her tone veers from breezy to air headed just a touch too often for my taste. The mystery as a whole is interesting and timely, but the flow of the story is constantly interrupted by Samantha’s observations or her complaints about the military hierarchy.

With a touch more maturity, Samantha would be a great character. Her job certainly lends itself to encountering all kinds of strange situations and individuals. This is a slightly shaky start with some serious potential.

Rating: 6
November 2009
ISBN# 978-0-425-23118-0 (paperback)


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