Ghost Moon

Guilty

Irresistible

The Midnight Hour

Paradise County

Scandalous

The Senator's Wife

To Trust a Stranger

Vanished

 
Pursuit by Karen Robards
(Putnam, 24.95, PG-13) ISBN  978-0-399-15542-0
***
A drastic improvement over last year's Guilty, Karen Robards once again proves her merit in the romantic suspense department with action-packed Pursuit.

A rookie lawyer in a prestigious D.C. law firm, Jess Ford doesn't even consider saying no when her boss calls her late one Saturday night.  Her task: to babysit the First Lady, Annette Cooper, a friend and client of Davenport's.  Jess finds Mrs. Cooper in a hotel bar and quickly hustles her out to the car Davenport had ordered for them.

If Jess had only known what would happen next.  Where the car ride leads is into a steep ditch and the fiery deaths of the other three passengers.  The sole survivor, Jess at first recalls nothing past meeting up with Annette Cooper. After an assault in the hospital, she begins to wonder if there's something hiding in her memory that someone else finds threatening ... and then the memories and nightmares start.

Convinced that the Secret Service is involved but lacking any other resources once John Davenport has attempted to shoot her and then throws himself out his office window, Jess turns to the head of the First Lady's security detail. Mark Ryan has kept himself near to her as the only witness to what appears to be the greatest failure of his career. Though the young, frail attorney doesn't initially seem to have all of her ducks in a row, Mark quickly becomes aware that she is now a target.  And, since he is considered a higher threat, his alliance with her puts Jess under even more fire.

As the two wade through the now-obvious conspiracy theory, they race through D.C. trying to bring the truth to light and themselves to safety and justice.

In the meantime, of course, is the requisite romance.  Given that the story takes place over a scant few days, Jess and Mark kind of gloss over the get-to-know-you stage, but it doesn't hurt that particular plotline.  And, though Jess is the typical Robards I'm-a-tough-girl-help-me-out heroine/damsel, she doesn't grate on your nerves.  She even manages to prove her own worth toward the end of the tale in a plot twist that isn't terribly twisty.

Mark is an admirable character whose background, unfortunately, is heavily and sometimes awkwardly abridged. However, that's no less than can be expected given the abbreviated timespan provided in the novel.  Pursuit moves right along and, despite the impression given by the releases and the jacket, Jess isn't stricken with amnesia and thus totally clueless; she very quickly realizes her place in the horrifying scenario in which she finds herself.

Whether it's one of sex scenes or the constant action, Pursuit will get pulses racing and restore readers' faith in a well-loved author.

--Sarrah Knight


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