Stranded With a Spy
by Merline Lovelace
(SRS #1483, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-27553-3
***
Merline Lovelace is back with her Omega Group personnel. Masquerading under the title of Special Envoy to the President, the chief directs his agents in affairs the CIA and FBI are unequipped or not permitted to handle.

A security agent at Dulles Airport inspecting the luggage of Dulles-Paris bound passengers finds a CD coded with the GSA logo, apparently over a recording featuring a blues singer. Running the disk he finds something very different… sufficient data to steal the identity of millions of people.

Immediately, he notifies his superiors and within minutes the Omega agency is called upon. In transit from Central America to vacation is Cutter Smith. He is dispatched to Paris to meet the flight and find and destroy the buyer of the data, who is believed to be code name: ”the Russian.”

The CD is in the possession of Mallory Dawes, a former aide to a very powerful Senator. Charging the senator with sexual harassment, she had endured the classical defense of perpetrators worldwide: the allegation that she was the evil seducer. The press loved it, and put her on trial. Job lost, Mallory was treating herself to a much saved for and planned vacation in France.

Cutter quickly becomes Mallory’s shadow. He is aided by the placement of a transponder type device on the disk, which permits him to know where Mallory and the disk are at all times. Mallory rents a car and heads for the north of France. Diverted by the beauty of Mont St Michael, she parks her car on the tidal beach lot and climbs up and into the walled city. Warning notices are posted for high tide times, which notifies all vehicle owners when they must leave Mont St Michel if they don’t want their car swept away by the tide.

Mallory sightsees and while doing so is accosted by an American who, quoting the newspapers, thinks she is easy and after an afternoon of fun. Cutter rushes to the rescue, and is rather peremptorily thanked and dismissed by Mallory, now very gun-shy of all strangers.

While visiting the vaults of the cathedral, Mallory lets time slip away, and her car with the disk, her passport and travelers’ checks are swept away by a rip tide. Cutter jumps to the rescue again offering to share the villa he has borrowed from a friend until she deals with the car rental people, the embassy for a new passport and American Express for money. Of course Omega has induced hold, stonewalling and other delaying techniques with these agencies while Cutter investigates. He comes to realize that Mallory has no clue that she any type of disk, and at the same time he realizes he is falling in love with her.

Lovelace adds a lot to this book with descriptions of Mont St. Michel and the apple growing section of France. Her characters are likeable and created with the expected backstories each must work through.  Happening at the same time is an attempt by persons unknown to retrieve the disk, not knowing it has been swept away in a rental car. Original twists that run through this worn plot, peppered with Lovelace’s dialogue make Stranded With a Spy an easy read.

--Thea Davis


@ Please tell us what you think! back Back Home