Eve Duncan has turned down the job twice already. Her skill and devotion in identifying murder victims and helping bring their killers to justice may be world-renowned. But Eve works exclusively for law enforcement and the families of the innocent, and the man on the other end of the phone is many things--none of them law-abiding or innocent.
One of the world's most wanted men, little is really known about Luis Montalvo except that he is extraordinarily dangerous and that he never takes no for an answer. Now he wants Eve's help in the worst way. For he believes they have something in common--and he's about to prove it with a grisly warning.
Eve will leave everything and everyone behind, even the man she trusts and loves the most, Atlanta detective Joe Quinn, to travel to Montalvo's luxurious armed compound in the Colombian jungle to identify the skull he has recovered. She has agreed to this devil's bargain to save an innocent family, but also for a reason she can't admit to Joe, to the CIA, to anyone. For the man in the jungle has promised to be able to give Eve what she wants most of all--the key to unlocking the darkest and most painful mystery of her past.
In the latest Eve Duncan forensics thriller from bestseller Johansen (Killer Dreams), the Atlanta-based forensic sculptor with an international reputation finds herself attracted, not always convincingly, to a sleazy manipulator. Duncan, who specializes in reconstructing facial features from skulls, has buried herself in her work since the disappearance and presumed death of her seven-year-old daughter, Bonnie, years earlier. That still-open wound is probed with sadistic skill by Luis Montalvo, a shady Colombian arms dealer, who offers to solve the mystery of what happened to Bonnie if Duncan agrees to attempt a reconstruction from a skull Montalvo believes was his late wife's. Despite the misgivings of her former husband, an FBI agent, Duncan accepts, and soon finds herself dodging bullets in a war between Montalvo and a drug lord rival in the Colombian jungle. Despite a shortage of the sort of meaty science that, say, a Kathy Reichs thriller typically provides, Johansen's faithful audience should be satisfied. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-4 of the 4 most recent reviews
1 . Stalemate...the stale part is definitely true...
Posted March 08, 2010 by Tamara , Scottsdale, AZJust finished reading Stalemate and am so glad it is over. This book just went on and on, way too long of a story for not much of a story. I liked Eve's character and really the idea was a good one but it seems as if the author needed to add some extra info to make the book a novel, info that was not needed. I cannot recommend this book.
2 . Worth Buying
Posted March 29, 2009 by ck , chicagoEve is stubborn and did frustrate me in this book. However, it was fast paced and couldn't put it down. Then again, I love most of Eve Duncan series!
3 . Stalemate
Posted May 06, 2008 by lap13 , TNI normally enjoy the Eve Duncan series. This book, however, made me crazy. Eve, a brilliant woman, stupidly put herself in unnecessary danger so many times that about two-thirds of the way through the book, I closed it and tossed it across the room. The story was good, and I really did want to see how it ended, but I just couldn't continue. I'm assuming Eve lived since the new book is out and she's in it.. I'll read that one, and hope that Johansen has eased up on Eve's dangerous stubborn streak that, to me, was totally unbelieveable.
Posted January 16, 2007 by slakker52 , USA - INAs always it is one of those books that is hard to put down. I love the Eve Duncan series. I was pleased with the book and it's story line. Can't wait for her next novel!
December 26, 2006
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Excerpt from Stalemate by Iris Johansen
The phone was ringing.
Ignore it, Eve told herself, her fingers moving swiftly on the skull reconstruction she'd given the name of Marty. She could call whoever it was back when she was through working. The phone was set for speaker and she could pick up if it was Joe or Jane. She was getting too close to that important last step in the sculpting.
On the sixth ring the answering machine picked up.
"I need to speak to you. Answer the phone, Ms. Duncan."
She froze, her fingers stopped in midstroke. Luis Montalvo. Though she had spoken to him only twice that faint accent was unmistakable.
"I know you're there. You haven't left that cottage in the last week." His voice became faintly mocking. "Your dedication is admirable and I understand you're brilliant at your job. I look forward to having both focused soon on my behalf." He paused. "Do pick up the phone. I'm not accustomed to being ignored. It upsets me. You don't want to upset me."
And she didn't want to pick up the phone. He might jar her out of the zone of feverish intensity she needed when she was working this close to completion. Dammit, she had hoped he wouldn't call her again after she'd turned him down when he'd phoned her the last time, over a week ago.
"I won't give up, you know."
No, he probably wouldn't. Montalvo had been polite during the first call and even after she'd refused his offer, the second time he'd phoned he'd displayed no anger. His voice had been smooth and soft, almost regretful, yet there had been a note beneath that velvet courtesy that had puzzled her. It had made her uneasy then but tonight it filled her with impatience. She had no time for this now. Marty was waiting.
She strode across the room and picked up the phone. "Montalvo, I'm very busy. You've had your answer. Don't call me again."
"Ah, how delightful to hear your voice. I knew you wouldn't be so rude as to leave me hanging on that dreadful answering device. I hate impersonal machines. I'm a man of emotion and passion and they offend me."
"I really don't want to hear what you love or hate. I don't care. I want to get off this phone and forget you exist."
"I realize that sad fact. You're absorbed in your latest reconstruction, of that boy found buried in Macon. Have you named him yet? I understand you name all the skulls you work on."
She stiffened. "How did you know that?"
"I know everything about you. I know you live with a Detective Joe Quinn of the Atlanta Police Department. I know you have an adopted daughter, Jane MacGuire. I know you're possibly the best forensic sculptor in the world. Shall I go on?"
"That could all be public record. And how did you know about the boy murdered in Macon?"
"I have many, many contacts around the world. Do you want to know who killed him? I could find out for you."
"I don't believe you."
"Because you're not even in this country. You're a scumbag of an arms peddler and you live in Colombia where you can hide out and deal your poison to the highest bidder."
He chuckled. "I do like frankness. Very few women I know are willing to tell me the truth as they see it."
"Then I'm grateful to not be one of the women you 'know,' you sexist bastard. If I were, I'd probably be tempted to cut your nuts off."
"Such violence, such passion. I believe we're very much alike, Ms. Duncan."
"No way." She drew a deep breath. "The answer is still no. I've no intention of coming down there and doing your reconstruction."
"You were very polite and businesslike, almost sympathetic, when I first made you the offer. The second time you were much more curt. I suppose you had Joe Quinn check me out?"