Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Deadly Lies - Cynthia Eden

Deadly Lies
Cynthia Eden
Romantic Suspense
Mostly-unrelated Side Note: Computer game aficionados will understand that I must call the female lead Samantha.  Otherwise, it becomes Sam and Max, and that’s too distracting.  And a bit disturbing.

This is the third book in the series and concerns the fate of FBI Agent Samantha Kennedy.  Her story started in the first book in the series (DEADLY FEAR) when she was kidnapped by a crazed serial killer.  It’s an unavoidable spoiler to say that she survived that experience physically, but was left with some serious emotional trauma.  She works with a special group in the FBI, one tasked with taking down serial offenders.  The first time around it was a serial killer.  The second book (DEADLY HEAT) dealt with a serial arsonist. 

This time out, it’s a serial kidnapper.  It takes a while to put the pattern together, but it soon becomes clear that someone is kidnapping the college-aged sons of very wealthy families and holding them for ransom.  The first two kidnappings go off perfectly and the victims return to their families.  In the opening pages, the kidnapper finds that the family isn’t so willing to deal with a kidnapper and refuses to just pay the ransom.  In short order, that victim returns to his family, very dead.  Clearly, the kidnapper is escalating, both in terms of the time between crimes and the amount of violence used on victims.

Samantha Kennedy returned to work in the second novel, but her boss isn’t so sure she’s really ready to be in the field.  Her experience with the serial killer changed her.  When she meets a man at a bar, she’s fine with a one-night stand.  Imagine her surprise to meet him again at an upscale party.  Turns out, he’s Max Ridgeway, a self-made man and stepson to a wealthy developer.  Samantha tells herself it’s all a physical thing, but it’s clear she’s falling for him.  Being with Max accidentally makes her the inside man when Max’s stepbrother, Quinlan, goes missing and the kidnappers demand ransom.  Quinlan’s father, accustomed to getting exactly what he wants from everyone, wants to play hardball.  He won’t contact the police and he initially refuses to pay the ransom.  Max reluctantly agrees to keep her work affiliations secret, even as they race to find Quinlan before the kidnappers harm him.  

This is one fast-paced novel.  The relationship between Samantha and Max evolves quickly, absent any real reason aside from circumstance and coincidence.  If you can overlook that, and it’s not difficult, you’re in for a great read.  The case involving the kidnappers is twisty and full of possible suspects.  Coincidence aside, I appreciated that Samantha’s presence made the FBI’s involvement easier, but made her dealings with Max progressively more problematic.  As before the pages flew by; and what I meant to be a few chapters before bed, ended up being nearly half the novel before I could put it down.  The author has a great way with action sequences, criminal types, and dialogue.  Anyone looking for a great romantic suspense author should give Ms. Eden a try.
Rating: 7 ½
March 2011
ISBN# 978-0-446-55925-6 (paperback)


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