Short Takes

Short Takes: Book reviews, in brief

April 6, 2013 

Fiction

A Wanted Man

Linda Lael Miller; Harlequin, 362 pages

This Stone Creek novel from 2007 has been re-released, and is definitely worth revisiting. Originally a hardcover book, this is a memorable story and perhaps the best in this popular historical Western series.

Rowdy Rhodes swaggers into town with his horse and faithful dog. You know he’s an awesome romance hero right away because of three things:

1) His name is Rowdy. 2) He buys his dog a steak and bath. 3) He’s a bit mysterious.

And so is Lark, who also has a great name – but no dog.

Rowdy comes to town to serve as sheriff. He actually is pretty qualified, since he understands the criminal mind better than any modern-day profiler ever could, seeing as how he is one and all. Yes sirree, Rowdy used to rob trains – pretty notoriously. But he retired from that business, one he really never wanted to be in anyway.

Lark is the town’s school teacher. She’s hiding from her past as well, and she knows getting involved with Rowdy isn’t a great idea. But how can she resist? His name is Rowdy. He treats his dog well and is mysterious.

This story is totally charming in its simplicity; man meets woman, they fall passionately in love. There is enough danger to add a bit of suspense, enough dissent to lend a touch of angst. But mostly, it’s just an easy-to-read story about likable characters looking for second chances.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Ice Cold Kill

Dana Haynes, Minotaur, 352 pages

Dana Haynes departs from his previous thrillers involving the aeronautics industry and takes on the alphabet agencies in “Ice Cold Kill,” a surprising and intriguing page turner.

Daria Gibron, a minor character in both “Crashers” and “Breaking Point,” takes center stage in this new novel. The former Shin-Bet agent now works as an interpreter, but when her old handler arranges to meet her at Grand Central Station in Manhattan, she drops everything to see him.

When she lands in New York, a coded message warns her of a trap. It turns out that her former handler has been murdered, and she’s been linked to a much sought-after terrorist. She cleverly manipulates the situation to her advantage and puts her pursuers on the defensive.

Knowing that she’s been burned, Gibron must use all her resources without help from her former allies. Shockingly, her best bet lies in teaming up with the terrorist to stop the real enemy. Together they learn the target on their backs is a distraction from the real operation that involves a deadly virus that’s been genetically modified to kill select individuals. Can they stop the plot in time?

The bullets fly and the action never stops in “Ice Cold Kill,” Haynes’ best book yet.

Associated Press

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