Love Under Fire

The Man For Maggie

Honeymoon with a Stranger
by Frances Housden
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1393, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0373-27463-7
Parisian fashion designer Roxanne Kincaid walks into Mac McBride’s apartment during his confrontation with agents of the seller of Green Shield. Green Shield is a bio-terrorist weapon that decimates agriculture. The horror of it compelled the French government to have the discovery destroyed and all thought it had been done. McBride is an IBIS (good guys) agent who is seeking to buy it in order to forever take it off the market.

The side benefit is, of course, determining and prosecuting the seller.

Whether deliberate or not, it is unclear for most of the book exactly who Roxie is and why she is involved. Since the definition of her character is constructed around memories of her grandmother’s admonitions and advice, there are few clues.

When Roxie meets McBride, he thinks fast and passes her off as his fiancée to save her life. The seller’s agents insist that they both go with them to the home of the seller in the country. The fact that in reality they are hostages is the main thrust of the book.

Thus follows the experiences of Roxie and Mac while being held in a room that is locked, with cameras and sound detection devices ostensibly awaiting the visitation of the head of the terrorist cell, which is the selling agent.

Roxie proves to be innovative and clever, but without much depth. McBride is equally single faceted, intent on accomplishing his mission and falling into lust along the way. The togetherness brings them together literally and figuratively, although it can hardly be called a steamy coupling.

This reviewer is a fan of Frances Housden, but Honeymoon With a Stranger suffers from either not enough editing or too much editing. Choppy and contrived, it lacks the usual easy flow of plot and action that are characteristic of Housden’s earlier books.

In places the plot drags, to be later offset by actions that are contrived seemingly for the sole purpose of changing the direction of the story. Although set in Paris, there is little sense of setting other than the inside of an upper story room of a French country home of a very wealthy man.

The resolution of the mystery side of the story, and the result of two people being held hostage in the same room is predictable as well. The plot is simple and does not enjoy Housden’s usual complexity or suspense.

If you are a first time reader of this writer my suggestion is to choose another offering.

--Thea Davis

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