Running on Empty

The Seduction Request

Out of Sight by Michelle Celmer
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1398, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-27468-8
FBI Special Agent Will Bishop averted death by a car bomb because he forgot something and returned to his motel room to retrieve it. His partner and best friend, plus the witness they were trying to protect, were both killed instantly. The defendant was not convicted.

Four years later, Will is still trying to avenge his partnerís death. He has one lead. The FBI is pretty sure who the hit man was, but getting any witness to testify is another matter. At the time of his partnerís death, a woman had called the FBI and apparently identified the murderer. She has disappeared; rumor has it, along with a large amount of money paid for the hit.

Will believes that he has a lead to the location of this mysterious witness. The site is Healing Hearts in Colorado. It is a sanctuary where people who are grieving for various reasons enroll to try and resolve some of their issues. The founder, a woman named Maureen, is a virtual recluse and known to almost no one. Will is convinced she is the witness.

Taking vacation time, he heads out to the retreat. He meets Abigale Sullivan, mother of a four year old, working there. Finding that she is practically the only person on site who has any access to the mysterious Maureen, he sets out to ingratiate himself with her and her child.

What follows is plodding, broken only by angst on Willís part about the death of his partner and his need for closure and angst on Abigaleís part about the regrets of promiscuity in a former life she would prefer to forget, except for her son.

The FBI has an inside informer so quickly one of the hit manís spies shows up to watch Will and whomever he seems to be after. There is almost no forward motion in the plot except for the expected falling in love with Abigale by Will and her handling of it after an almost five year drought of love affairs.

The characters are fairly shallow, and the inner dialogue of each party is pretty much the same chapter after chapter. As Willís vacation time is running out, Abigale invites him to a dinner with Maureen and her son and the plot begins to break wide open.

All is resolved quickly but somewhat contrived. There is enough foreshadowing to alert a savvy reader as to what is really going on. The plot line is an often-used one and the characters are not memorable, leaving little to recommend this story.

--Thea Davis

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