Girls' Night Out

Loganís Bride by Elizabeth August
(Silh. Int. Mom. #950, $4.25, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-07950-8
Elizabeth Augustís Loganís Bride started out strong, with an interesting premise and interesting characters. Then, somehow, in the middle of the book, the story lost steam , the plot lost coherence, and I lost interest. Too bad, because the book started out with a bang.

FBI agent Boyd Logan is part of the task force trying to take down St. Louis crime boss Vince Garduchi. As the surveillance team watches the Garduchi compound, a new face appears at the gate. A quick check shows that it is Katrina Polinari and that she is a police officer. Her appearance at the crime lordís home raises all kinds of suspicions.

Katrina is used to suspicions. The daughter of one of Garduchiís enforcers (and his goddaughter), she had shed her mob connections when her father and brother were killed in a turf war. Seeking to right the wrongs of the past, she had joined the police. But despite her stellar record, she knows that her colleagues donít completely trust her. The sins of the fatherÖ..

Katrina has come to talk to Garduchi at the behest of her aunt, Leona Serrenito. Leona had been Garduchiís accountant and had absconded with a pile of his money. Now thereís a contract out for her. Leona wanted Katrina to try to explain away her actions to her boss. It doesnít work.

The feds want Leona too; she can help them put away her boss. Discovering that Leona has been in contact with Katrina, they want her to convince her aunt to give herself - and her records -- up. Thus, Boyd finds himself ďbabysittingĒ Katrina.

Boyd, a Texan with an Apache mother, had joined the FBI because his father, a Texas ranger, had been killed by a mobster. He wanted to fight organized crime. His experiences as an agent have left him understandably distrustful of just about everyone. He is not at all sure that Katrina is on the up and up.

When Leona agrees to put herself in the feds hands, she does it on her terms. She wants her niece and one other agent to provide protection. Leona leads Boyd and Katrina on a merry chase after the records before giving them the slip.

Obviously, the main romantic conflict in Loganís Bride centers on Boydís distrust of Katrina. He is attracted to her, but he knows that people are not always what they seem. Is she really clean? The secondary conflict concerns Katrinaís fear that if she marries Boyd, he will be tainted by her undesirable connections.

Actually, the most vivid character in the book is not the hero or the heroine, but rather Aunt Leona. She is one smart cookie.

I am no expert on FBI procedures, but there were a number of incidents in the book that left me shaking my head. I simply couldnít believe that the feds would behave as they were portrayed. (But, then again, given some recent examples of investigative incompetence, maybe Iím giving them too much credit.) Also, at one point, Boyd acts with amazing stupidity. This caused me problems.

Katrina is an interesting character and I could certainly understand why she attracted Boyd. She is feisty and brave and decent and honorable. Likewise, Boydís appeal to Katrina is clear. She has been alone for so long and she fully understands why he mistrusts her, however much she wishes he didnít. He does come through in the end.

As I indicated, Loganís Bride started out well. The characters, both the good guys and the bad guys, were well drawn. But plot problems towards the end of the book weakened the story, making it an acceptable rather than a recommended read.

--Jean Mason

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