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Posts Tagged ‘abduction’

A DANGEROUS MAN by Robert Crais: Book Review

Isabel Roland seems to have a perfectly ordinary life.  She has a new job as a bank teller, although it can’t quite cover the bills for the house she inherited from her recently deceased mother.  The house is, to use a common expression, a “money pit,” but Isabel is happy at her job and is doing her best to keep her home in reasonable repair.

One of her repeat customers at the bank is Joe Pike, a man she’s attracted to; however, the attraction doesn’t seem to be returned.  After Pike completes his transaction in his usual matter-of-fact manner and leaves the bank, Isabel goes on her lunch hour.  As soon as she steps onto the sidewalk, a man stops her to ask for directions and then propels her into a waiting van.  Unfortunately for that man and for the driver inside the van, Joe Pike is parked across the street.

Isabel can’t understand what happened nor what the man who pushed her into the van means when he says, “We know your secret.”  Before he can say much more, the van’s front window explodes and the two men are thrown out.  And Pike appears.

Miles away, the body of a U. S. Marshall is found buried in a shallow grave.  What is the connection between that murder and the attempted abduction?

Early the next morning the police appear at Joe’s door, and he finds out that the two men who attempted to kidnap Isabel had made bail the night before and were found dead shortly afterward.  The police aren’t satisfied with Joe’s alibi, but they reluctantly take their leave after getting the names of neighbors who say they saw him at the time the murders had been committed.  Then, when Joe tries to return the call Isabel made to him the evening before, there’s no answer; when he drives to her address, she’s not there.

Across the street from Isabel’s home, Carly Knox, Isabel’s best friend, calls to him.  Isabel had texted Carly the night before, saying that she was certain the two men who had tried to kidnap her had returned and were outside her house.  She said she was heading to Carly’s house, but she never arrived, and Carly has not heard from her since.

Joe is not getting any satisfaction from his calls to the police involved in the case so he calls Elvis Cole, the self-proclaimed “World’s Greatest Detective.”  The two men have worked together many times, taking turns asking each other for help, each man having a different skill set.  As Pike explains to Carly, “He’s a detective.  I’m something else.”

As is true in every Robert Crais novel, the writing is taut, the plot moves at a fast pace, and the characters, both major and minor, are outstandingly portrayed.  But it is always Joe and Elvis who are at the center of the story, and their friendship is what makes the novels the terrific reads that they are.

You can read more about Robert Crais at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden Oldies, Past Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.





DESTROYER ANGEL by Nevada Barr: Book Review

Off on a camping trip with two of her friends and their daughters, Anna Pigeon is enjoying a well-deserved vacation.  Her friends are at the campsite while she’s enjoying an hour or two of solitude in a canoe on Minnesota’s Fox River when she hears a noise that sounds “off.”  It’s the sound of a pistol being cocked, Anna knows.  As a park ranger, she knows the sounds of guns as well as the sounds of nature, and she’s sure this is the former.  As quietly as possible, she heads the canoe back toward the campsite.

The four people at the campsite are as different as possible, given that they consist of two mothers and two daughters.  Leah Hendricks is the brains behind Hendricks and Hendricks, a sports gear and fashion company.  Her daughter Katie, age thirteen, is an unwilling participant on the trip.  The tension between them is palpable.

Heath and her daughter Elizabeth are the second mother and daughter, and they share a strong and happy relationship.  Heath is in a wheelchair, the result of an accident that broke her back; Elizabeth was adopted by Heath some time ago after a traumatic incident nearly took the girl’s life.  One of the reasons for the trip is for Heath to try out the new wheelchair, a product of Leah’s combined technical and creative abilities.  So far it’s been everything its inventor could have hoped, and the trip, except for the strain between Leah and Katie, could be termed a success. 

Then into the clearing come four men, each carrying a gun.  After making sure who Leah and Katie are, the leader of the men orders the two women and their daughters bound with plastic ties.  Just then Heath hears the faint sound of a canoe on the water, and she realizes that Anna is approaching.  Heath shouts out a warning, ostensibly at the intruders, “Stay away from us!  You hear me?”  But Anna realizes the warning is meant for her, for her to keep out of the camp and try to devise a plan to rescue her friends.

The four men don’t bother to explain the reason they are abducting the women, and the two mothers have no idea why they’ve been targeted.  Could it simply be random, Heath wonders.  But the idea of four heavily armed men coming deep into the wilderness in hopes of finding a group to kidnap seems absurd.  Plus, of course, the men knew Leah’s and Katie’s names.  For some reason the gunmen came looking for them.  But why?

Destroyer Angel is the eighteenth novel in the Anna Pigeon series, each book set in a different park.  Based in part on Nevada Barr’s own experiences as a ranger, the books take Anna from the Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas (the first book) to the Iron Range in northern Minnesota in Destroyer Angel

The books, besides being excellent reads, give the reader a look into our national forests and our history.  Ms. Barr’s own background, both as a ranger and a former actress, makes her a natural storyteller.  Anna Pigeon is a character with brains, compassion, and abilities that shine through in every book.

You can read more about Nevada Barr at this web site.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her web site.