The Man She Almost Married

Prime Suspect

On Dangerous Ground
by Maggie Price
(Sil. Int. Moments #989, $4.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-07989-3
How could someone on death row for one rape and murder be the only one with matching DNA for a new rape and murder? That is the question Grant Pierce, homicide detective, and Sky Milano, police forensic chemist, have to answer. They were the ones who helped to put the man on death row. Now they have to decide what to do next. Even more puzzling, when they test the convicted murderer again, they discover his DNA has changed.

Besides dealing with that little problem, Grant and Sky have their own relationship to work on. Six months before the new case started, they had been dating. Then Sky realized that, attracted though she was to Grant, she had too many unresolved problems from her own rape years ago. Although they broke up, they now have to work together.

The story shows us a hero and heroine who have a good relationship even though there are serious things that keep them apart. The two of them are interested in each other, intelligent about their jobs and well-matched for either their sparring (at one point Sky literally fells Pierce in a self-defense maneuver) or their collaboration at work.

The mystery is very well done. The two work logically through false leads - - does the prisoner have a twin brother? Could the first tests be wrong? - - to come up with a plausible solution. Skyís final confrontation with the murderer/rapist where she finds the strength to fight back is matched by Pierceís final decision to back off from a confrontation with Skyís former rapist. Both decisions work satisfactorily for the murder and the relationship.

However, that is where I am a little less than totally satisfied with the story. Pierce and Sky have tests to get through for their relationship to end well. But somehow those tests didnít make me worried for the two of them.

Will Sky be able to get over the trauma of rape and really learn to love Pierce? Well, this is a romance novel. Of course she will. Besides, the fears she had nine years after the event seemed to be surmountable by now. She has been doing all the right things to learn to deal with it and she certainly is attracted to Pierce. The result seems inevitable.

Will Pierce be able to avoid vengeance and choose a relationship with Sky instead? Well, of course, after a struggle, he will. He is portrayed as a good cop all through the story. You know that, even though he might be tempted to, he isnít going to take the law into his own hands. Even the final meeting with the real rapist didnít raise a lot of tension in me. I figured Sky would handle it since she had shown her mental and physical toughness before. I had a lot more trouble figuring out how the DNA tests that Sky performed earlier were wrong.

Overall the relationship part of the story is pretty good - - I liked both characters and respected their abilities - - but the mystery part of the story is very good indeed. That makes for a good read if not a great one.

--Irene D. Williams

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