Courting Callie

The Eleventh Hour

Searching for Sarah
by Lynn Erickson
(Jove, $5.99, PG) ISBN 0-515-12699-3
Sarah Jamison’s wealthy family was so brutally dysfunctional that her sister had probably committed suicide just to get away. Her younger brother had been turned into a fawning wimp, and, just to maintain, Sarah developed the ability to retreat into herself.

A college dropout, Sarah embraces the political candidacy of liberal Scott Taylor in his presidential race. Partly to annoy her conservative father, and partly because she believes in his principles, Sarah attends a rally in Denver where Taylor notices her. Allegedly interested in her views, he persuades her to follow him to his hotel room. Sarah’s naiveté quickly disappears when she realizes his intentions are not intellectual. She is about to flee, when he has unexpected company.

Not wanting her to be seen, Tayor hides Sarah in the bedroom. Which is fortunate because the visitors are Taylor’s executioners. Recognizing one of the men as head of the CIA, Sarah knows her life is in danger. She runs, totally dropping out of society, working at a retreat in Aspen for stressed executives.

Jake Savelle is the Assistant Denver District Attorney who draws the high profile case. Although Scott Taylor was his brother in law he refuses to step down, and also refuses to believe the killing is a burglary gone wrong. He is totally uncompromising in his stand that Taylor has been assassinated. That view was consistent with Jake’s personality, which saw issues in terms of justice, black or white…never gray. His principles cost him his wife, his reputation, and because of perjured evidence by a juror in an unrelated case, his bar license.

In the middle of the night Jake gets an anonymous telephone call telling him that there was a woman in the suite that night. Jake sets out to find the witness. Driven by the need to avenge Taylor’s death, and also by the small hope that after justice is served, perhaps he can get his life back, Jake traces Sarah to Philadelphia, meets her family and the hunt is on.

Jake initially is certain of the sordidness of the relationship between Taylor and Sarah, but as his investigation leads him closer to her, he learns more and more about her and he falls in love with her.

As a police detective mystery, the story line is very predictable, although the author throws in some neat twists. What is so commendable about Searching For Sarah is the gentle way Erickson crafts her characters. They are multidimensional and very likeable permitting the author to underscore her points quietly and smoothly.

The romance evolves effortlessly and convincingly between Jake and Sarah, tastefully penned with a light hand. Searching for Sarah is actually the antithesis of the usual gritty whodunit, and it has something for everyone.

On an intellectual basis the physical search for Sarah is logical. On an emotional level the search enables Jake to resolve the black, white and gray issues that have haunted him, and the experience permits Sarah to shed some of the emotional baggage of her childhood. Readers will find Searching for Sarah an entertaining and pleasurable reading experience.

--Thea Davis

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