For eight years, single mother Grace Archer has been living a picture-perfect life raising her daughter on a horse farm in the small town of Tallanville, Alabama. Watching Frankie grow into a talented and confident young girl has made Grace as happy as any mother could hope to be. Happy enough, even, to forget the past. But the past never quite goes away. Which is why a certain charismatic man also moved to Tallanville eight years ago to watch over her.But when violence threatens to shatter Grace and Frankie's idyllic home, the waiting is over. The ghosts of the past have returned. And they're hungry for blood. Now Grace must resume an identity she thought she had cast off forever, and match wits with an opponent as deadly as he is cunning. The prize: an extraordinary secret that only she can unfold. The forfeit: losing the thing more precious to her than life itself.
A single mom and gifted horse handler, Grace Archer goes on the lam with her equally exceptional eight-year-old daughter, Frankie, after a Middle Eastern magnate named Marvot kills the owner of the Alabama horse farm where they have been hiding under the watchful eye of Grace's former employer, the CIA. Johansen (Firestorm, etc.) blends action, suspense and family values as Frankie's father, ex-CIA commando Jake Kilmer, comes back into Grace's life to protect her and the child he has never known. Grace blames Jake for her father's death and the end of her career, but there's no one else she trusts against Marvot, who wants her to train his lethal blue-eyed Arabian stallion and mare, known as the Pair, to lead him to treasure buried somewhere in the Moroccan desert. The novel starts off with guns blazing and doesn't slow down for murder, kidnapping, blackmail, sex or sandstorm. Johansen borrows openly from the movies Hollywood thinks women love (Grace talks to horses, though she balks at being called a horse whisperer), crafts family scenes (Marvot playing chess with his son; the Pair with their colt) and offers a mother and father who defend the world from criminals while yearning for domestic tranquillity. The Johansen formula works so well in this novel that readers may expect a sequel. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 05, 2005
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Excerpt from On The Run by Iris Johansen
El Tariq, Morocco
Get the bastard! He's trapped."
The hell he was, Kilmer thought savagely as he gunned the jeep up the hill. He wasn't about to let them catch him when he'd come this far.
A bullet tore past his ear and splintered the windshield.
Too close. They were gaining on him.
He put his foot on the brake and slowed the jeep down.
He swerved around a curve in the road, braced himself, and then jumped into a mud-and-sand-filled ditch at the side of the road.
Christ, that hurt.
He rolled over and dashed into the brush, watching the jeep roll driverless away from him and then veer toward the edge of the road. With any luck they'd think that shot had struck him and not try to analyze why the jeep appeared uncontrolled.
Now wait for the truck pursuing him.
He didn't have to wait long. The Nissan truck roared around the curve. Two men in the cab. Three in the open back of the truck. The man on the right side of the back was the one with the rifle. He was aiming at the jeep again.
Let them get a little nearer . . .
They were passing him.
He stepped out of the brush and threw the grenade he'd pulled out of his backpack.
He hit the dirt as the grenade struck the truck and exploded. A second explosion rocked the ground as the gas tank of the truck blew.
His head lifted. The truck was a blackened, flaming ruin; smoke was curling up toward the sky.
And that smoke would be seen for miles.
He jumped to his feet and started to run toward the glade at the top of the hill.
It took him five minutes to reach it and he was hearing the roar of vehicles behind him when he burst into the glade where the helicopter was hidden. Donavan started the rotors whirling as he caught sight of Kilmer.
"Go!" Kilmer dove into the passenger seat. "Stay away from the road before going south. You might get a bullet in the gas tank."
"I thought from the explosion that you'd taken care of that problem." Donavan lifted off. "Grenade "
Kilmer nodded. "But there may be more than one truck this time. The first thing they'll do is check the safe when they see that smoke and then they'll call out every man at the compound."