The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Final Target, Iris Johansen raises the stakes and the heart rate with this relentless new thriller that follows the harrowing trail of a ruthless killer on the hunt--and the woman who is determined to hunt him down. He is the most terrifying of killers: ruthless, cunning, charismatic. And he has the means to get whatever he wants. And what Rico Chavez wants most is Elena Kyler--and he wants her dead. Trained as an assassin, Elena didn't need anyone to survive. But now she finds herself on the run from one dangerous man and turning for help to another. Sean Galen was a man without illusions. He knew it was only desperation that caused Elena to accept his help--a mother's desperation to save her young son from a psychopath father who would raise their son in his own chilling image. And yet he was determined to get this woman who had never been able to trust anyone or anything in her whole life to accept him as her ally.
Think Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 and a jaded James Bond, and you've got the principals down pat for crowd-pleaser Johansen's (Body of Lies) latest romantic suspenser. Elena Kyler was born in Colombia and raised by her rebel fighter father, formerly an American mercenary. After her father dies and her rebel comrades sell out to druglord Rico Chavez, Elena, now in her mid-20s, concocts a desperate plan to save herself and her five-year-old son Barry from Chavez, who also happens to be Barry's father. She contacts the DEA, who call in the Bondian Sean Galen, a debonair maverick. The plan is to bring Elena and Barry to the U.S., then capture Chavez when he comes for his son. After a daring air-lift escape, Sean, Elena and Barry make it to California, but an ambush by Chavez's men leaves them running for their lives. Unaccustomed to relying on the kindness of strangers, Elena finds herself forced to lean on Sean as the two zigzag across the U.S., falling in love along the way. In the current climate, the threat of drug cartels feels dated and Chavez is such an over-the-top nasty that he's downright silly. Add to that a melodramatic anti-heroine, who's also a clichd assassin-with-a-heart-of-gold seeking spiritual redemption, and a Southeastern climax that's as '80s as Miami Vice, and the sum total becomes a derivative stew. Johansen has delivered better in the past and hopefully will again in the future. Major ad/promo. (Oct. 1) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 04, 2003
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Excerpt from No One to Trust by Iris Johansen
A cockroach was crawling up her arm.
Elena Kyler shuddered as she brushed it off. God, how she hated cockroaches. This cell was teeming with them, but at least they weren ' t as bad as the rats.
Close it out. Life was not this cell. Go away from here. Think of something beautiful. Father Dominic had always told her that was the only way to endure the unbearable. But this situation was not truly unbearable. The unbearable would be to give in and let that bastard win. So she wouldn ' t think of anything beautiful. She didn ' t want to bring anything she valued into this filthy cell.
She drew the blanket closer around her. So cold. It was warm during the day, but as soon as the sun set it became chilly. The cell was damper than the huts they ' d kept her in on the way here, and the blanket she ' d been issued was thin and worn. She hadn ' t slept all night.
Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
There might be more opportunity here. These guards seemed more complacent and they didn ' t know her. Just get ready. The time would come.
She threw aside the blanket and started doing the warm-up that preceded her routine. She ' d exercised four hours every day since they ' d captured her and she was even stronger now. Without weapons, she had to be. She ' d eaten every scrap of the meager rations they ' d given her to maintain that strength and spent the rest of her waking time planning her escape.
She ' d be ready.
' Is he here ' Ben Forbes demanded as soon as he entered John Logan ' s office. ' Did you get hold of Galen '
' He ' s here. Or rather he ' ll be here in a few minutes. ' Logan leaned back in the leather executive chair. ' But he told me to warn you that he has no intention of taking the job. He said he ' s had enough of all that bull happening in Colombia. '
' Haven ' t we all, ' Forbes said wearily. ' But it goes on and someone has to do something about it. '
' Tell that to Galen. He lost two men on the last extraction job he did down there. He doesn ' t like losing men. And he doesn ' t like working with the DEA either. He wouldn ' t even be coming to this meeting if you guys didn ' t go way back. '
' Not as long as the two of you, ' countered Forbes. ' Can ' t you use your influence '
Logan shook his head. ' Galen goes his own way, and you don ' t stay his friend by trying to change his mind. '