The Business of Strangers


Friday's Child

Hard to Handle

Truth or Lies

Undercover Lover

Terms of Engagement by Kylie Brant
(SRS #1545, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-27615-8
Lindsay Bradford has been on the run for three years. Changing identities, jobs, residences, cities and states has kept her alive. She knows she will never be able to run far enough to be permanently safe from Niko Rassi, a sadistic assassin who has taken out all her friends in the life she had when she knew him.

The story opens at a Christmas party as Lindsay is meeting the only two people she has permitted to become her friends in Metro City, California. Ironically, they are detectives on a Swat Team and the bar is filled with many of the local police force. The Santa is Jack Langley who is quickly attracted to Lindsay, but getting nowhere with her. To avoid him she steps out the back way…only to interrupt an attempted rape. Soliciting Jack’s help saves the girl, and makes an enemy of the police officer attempting the rape. What Lindsay really fears is having to give a statement the next day. This is something she knows she needs to avoid as her identity is not solid enough to withstand superficial scrutiny.

Meanwhile, her stingy boss at the restaurant where she is a cook has fired Mitch, one of the employees. During Lindsay’s shift Mitch enters the restaurant,a tense situation escalates and suddenly all of the employees and diners become his hostages. The police are notified and Jack and the Alpha Squad Swat Team arrives.

 Brant does a very realistic job of portraying the  tensions that probably occur in these situations, together with the types of efforts to defuse it as the Alpha Squad  tries to “talk" Mitch down. Lindsay is their best asset inside, inasmuch as Mitch almost trusts her.

Lindsay is instrumental in savings the lives of the diners, but to her dismay she is portrayed as a heroine on national television. Now she knows she must run again. Sure enough, her evil nemesis sees the news clip and quickly emerges in Metro City, firearm in hand. Missing a shot at Lindsay while Jack is with her brings Lindsay’s predicament to Jack’s attention. Thereafter, he is determined to protect her and to catch Rassi.

From there the story unfolds as a reader would expect, as the plot line is not an uncommon one. It is Brant’s talent that makes it an interesting read as her characters are very well developed. The dialog is always interesting and believable and she neatly balances the sexual and life threatening tensions.

Readers who don't mind an average story line will appreciate the above average characters and writing.

--Thea Davis

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