Blue Bayou

Far Harbor


Legends Lake

MacKenzie's Woman

Magnolia Moon

No Regrets

No Safe Place

A Woman's Heart


Shattered by JoAnn Ross
(Signet, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-451-22612-9
Shane Garret, a Night Stalker pilot met Army Doctor Kirby Campbell in Iraq, and they started a hot romance. The affair did not burn out but Kirby left the army and joined Worldwide Medical Relief, relocating on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. They drifted away from each other and gradually lost contact.

The story opens as Shane is flying some Marines, Rangers and CIA personnel on a mission in Afghanistan when his Chinook is hit by multiple rockets. Heroically he manages a semi-controlled crash landing and in the process shatters one leg. His compatriots know that he must be stabilized before they can air lift him out. Choosing to ignore possible border problems and their careers, they get him to the hospital unit nearest them.

Kirby is on scene, treats him and he is evacuated to finally end up in a hospital in Germany. Realizing that she is still in love with him she makes her way to Germany. Shane is now an amputee and for Kirby's own good (as viewed by him) he tells her their affair is over. The fact that he had been carrying an engagement ring he intended to give her when he found her in Afghanistan is something he doesn't mention.

Time passes. Shane with his positive attitude is a good candidate for state of the art prosthetic devices and he is adjusting well, teaching flying for a living. Kirby is asked to make a plea for funds and to testify before a Congressional subcommittee. with respect to conditions in Afghanistan.

While Kirby's boss Rachel is kidnapped, the State Department elects to use the Phoenix Team to recover her. That team is comprised of Shane's old friends and he is asked to join them. From this point, it is the preparation for a hostage rescue and the reigniting of Shane and Kirby's romance that will take center stage.

The author spends a lot of time on the minutia that accompanies the preparation for such a rescue. Throw into the mix Shane's positive attitude about his prosthetic device and Kirby understands, and the novel is pretty well defined.

Ross develops her characters well; the dialog is good although too much time seems to be spent on the preparation and the journey rather than the conclusion in Central America. Opportunities are lost in the failure to ground the reader in the story with scenic description that would provide a real sense of place.

In essence the story is about Kirby and Shane, the rescue seems to just provide a reason to meet again in a larger than life situation without any semblance of tension, since the brief conclusion is always foregone.

--Thea Davis

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