Warrior’s Second Chance
by Nancy Gideon
(Silh. Romantic Susp. #1445, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-27515-1
During the Viet Nam era, three young friends Chet, Robert and Tag enlisted to serve in Viet Nam. Schoolmates, they arrived in the war zone and all became snipers with different levels of commitment. They all loved the same girl with varying degrees of sincerity.

Tag McGee was the clear winner with Barbara, daughter of a prestigious family; however, he was by far the least desirable in her family’s eyes. Coming from the wrong side of the tracks his gene pool was an anathema to her family. Tag left her with promises of returning after his service, not knowing she was pregnant at the time.

Barbara’s father intercepted all letters both to and from the love struck teens, so Tag never learned he was the father of daughter, Tessa. Instead Robert had leave, returned to the small town, and convinced Barbara that Tag wanted no part of the family obligation. Robert was then able to step forward and marry her himself.

The present finds that Chet has killed Robert, but has been released from jail pending trial. Chet is as twisted as one can get, apparently being amoral, and also under the direction of someone equally evil. A trap has been designed for Tag with Barbara as bait.

Chet contacts her, telling her that she must be on a certain flight to DC in the company of Tag who she has not seen since high school, in order to keep her adult daughter safe. Barbara will do anything for Tessa and she agrees.

            In DC, Tag and Barbara realize that a Dr. Frye is somehow part of this bizarre plot. Tag knew Dr. Frye from Viet Nam, as Frye was part of the psychiatric medical staff that made living with their career as snipers possible. He had missed the final session, which had been designed to help snipers adjust to civilian life. A sniper kills Frye and Tag is seen holding a rifle at the scene.

 Tag can’t remember much of Viet Nam, and can’t remember why he has the rifle in hand; the chase is on as he is the primary suspect. Barbara joins him on the run and they finally work out what the overall larger picture is.

This is a very clever plot line. However, it is too ambitious for the limited number of pages granted the author in this series. Character development is started but gives way to the exigencies of plot line.

Pacing is good and the dialog is appropriate, except weak and predictable when it comes to Chet. Nancy Gideon is better than a good writer but Warrior’s Second Chance suffers from sheer lack of space.

--Thea Davis

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