Thursday, June 03, 2010

Now You See Her - Merline Lovelace

Now You See Her
A Samantha Spade Mystery
Merline Lovelace
Berkley Prime Crime


USAF 2nd Lt. Samantha Spade (ALL THE WRONG MOVES) is in charge of a team that tests inventions for the military. They test the ‘smaller’ things; the things from smaller labs or with less immediate potential for military applications. But they usually take their job pretty seriously. Of course, there are always exceptions. Samantha gets the urge to conduct an unauthorized field test of a vision device that lets it’s wearer see around corners. She conducts the test in a mini-mall’s parking lot. Bad idea, no matter how you look at it.

Seeing around a corner allows her to see an armed man, apparently taking aim at the parking lot. When an SUV pulls in next to her, Samantha shouts a warning. The driver, who turns out to be Army Sgt. Diane Roth, is able to duck and drive at the same time, taking out the shooter. After the police arrive, Diane is visibly shocked to realize that she knew the shooter. They’d served together in Afghanistan, and had a brief relationship. Diane broke it off and thought her ex was in therapy. Investigation shows that he was suffering from PTSD and off his meds.

Since they’re both women in the military, it’s natural that Samantha and Diane become friends, even though their situations are quite different. Samantha is single; Diane is a single mom of two small kids. The more she learns about Diane’s life and background, though, the more Samantha gets the uneasy feeling that there’s plenty Diane isn’t telling.

This is the second in a series, and the plot is much tighter and the story better written than the first outing. Samantha seems to have matured a bit in the intervening time, and that’s good. She’s learned the hard way that not everyone is an open book. Her actions lead to some situations she’d rather have avoided, but she does what she feels is right. This installment makes me think this series could be a winner.

Rating: 7
May 2010
ISBN# 978-0-425-23476-1 (paperback)


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