He strikes without warning....he kills without mercy....he's only just begun....
Iris Johansen, the New York Times bestselling author of The Killing Game and The Face of Deception, delivers a gripping new novel of breathtaking suspense and explosive adventure. It is the story of a courageous woman who is coerced into tracking down a ruthless killer--but as she hunts out her prey with stunning accuracy, she becomes the object of his wrath....
As part of an elite K-9 search and rescue team, Sarah Patrick and her golden retriever, Monty, have a gift for finding what no one else can--whether it's a survivor buried alive by an earthquake or the skeleton of a murdered child. But their latest assignment is not like the others. This time Sarah is being forced to take part in a deadly mission...by a man who knows enough about her past to ensure her cooperation. A man who won't take no for an answer. John Logan is used to getting what he wants, and what he wants now is Sarah's help. His top-secret venture has been sabotaged, its facilities destroyed, and its handpicked staff massacred. The sole survivor is being held for ransom. Logan knows that the only way to save the man--and the secrets he holds--is to find him as soon as possible.
Smart, tough, and uncompromising, Sarah is furious when she is strong-armed into joining Logan on his search. And once she takes the perilous assignment, she realizes that Logan's promises that she and Monty will be safe may not be enough to protect them. Because a killer is devising a sadistic vengeance...and he may soon find use for Sarah. Racing against time to stop the bloodshed before more victims are claimed, both Sarah and Logan will look straight into the heart of true evil. And when the killer's search for revenge finally ends, no one will ever be the same again....
Two strong-minded women from Johansen's bestselling Killing Game make return appearances in her latest thriller, with their billing reversed: Irish-Apache search-and-rescue worker Sarah Patrick is the star, while her friend, forensic sculptor Eve Duncan, takes a supporting role. The center-stage love story also features a twist. Eve's billionaire entrepreneur ex-lover, John Logan, falls for Sarah even while risking her life in his war with hyper-evil Martin Rudzak, who has already killed his own half-sister, Chen Li, rather than lose her to John. Johansen's roots lie in historical romance, but her thrillers ooze enough testosterone to suggest she also descends from the house of Robert Ludlum. Sarah and her fabulous canine partner, golden retriever Monty, slog into the aftermaths of a Turkish earthquake and a Taiwanese mudslide, and engage in a heartbreaking search for drowned teens in a lake near Sarah's Arizona cabin. They deal with bullets and bombs and collaborate to save a cruelly trapped wolf, dubbed Maggie, whose unlikely cross-species passion for Monty provides neat commentary on female-male attraction in general--and there's no need to be a dog-lover to revel in Sarah and Monty's empathetic closeness. On the downside, Johansen seems more interested in telling her story than in writing it. To create a sense of urgency, she relies heavily on the device of the two-word sentence and the one-sentence paragraph; parts of the book read like shorthand. Sarah and John globe trot, but there's scant sense of place, and minor characters like nasty Sen. Todd Madden are one-dimensional. Then again, the novel admirably eschews gush and wallpaper--in a postfeminist way, Sarah's ruggedness simply is. For better or for worse, Johansen pushes the gender boundary in popular fiction, offering up that rarity: a woman's novel for men. Major ad/promo. (June)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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April 30, 2001
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Excerpt from The Search by Iris Johansen
"Get out of there, Sarah," Boyd yelled from outside the house. "That wall is going to tumble any minute."
"Monty's found something." Sarah carefully moved over to the pile of rubble where the golden retriever was standing. "Be still, boy. Be very still."
"How do I know?" Monty always hoped it would be a child. He loved kids and all these lost and hurt children nearly killed him. They nearly killed her too, Sarah thought wearily. Finding the children and the old people were always the most painful. So few survived these catastrophes. The earth trembled and the walls fell and life was snuffed out as if it had never been.
"Okay." She absently patted Monty's head as she gazed at the rubble. The second story of the small house had caved in, and chances of anyone being alive beneath the wreckage were minimal. She could hear no groans or weeping. It wouldn't be responsible of her to bring anyone else from the search and rescue team into the building. She should get out herself.
What the hell? Stop wasting time. She knew she wasn't going to leave until she investigated more closely. She reached for a stool and tossed it aside. "Go to Boyd, Monty."
The retriever sat down and looked at her.
"I keep telling you that you're supposed to be a professional. That means you obey orders, dammit."
She tossed a cushion to one side and tugged at the easy chair. Jesus, it was heavy. "You can't help me now."
"Get out of there, Sarah," Boyd yelled. "That's an order. It's been four days. You know you probably won't find anyone alive."
"We found that man in Tegucigalpa alive after twelve days. Call Monty, will you, Boyd?"
Monty didn't move. She hadn't thought he would, but there was always a chance. "Stupid dog."
"If you're going to stay there, I'm coming in to help you," Boyd said.
"No, I'll be out in a minute." Sarah glanced warily at the south wall, then tugged at the mattress until she got it to one side. "I'm just looking around."
"I'll give you three minutes."
She pulled frantically at the carved headboard.
"Shh." She finally heaved the headboard to one side.
And then she saw the hand.
Such a small, delicate hand, clutching a rosary . . .
"A survivor?" Boyd asked as Sarah walked out of the house. "Do we need to send in a team?"
She numbly shook her head. "Dead. A teenage girl. Two days, maybe. Don't risk anyone's neck. Just mark the site." She snapped on Monty's leash. "I'm going back to the trailer. I've got to get Monty out of here. You know how upset he gets. I'll be back in a couple of hours."
"Yeah, it's only your dog that's upset." Boyd's tone dripped sarcasm. "That's why you're shaking like a leaf."
"I don't want to see you take a step out of that trailer until tomorrow morning. You've gone without sleep for thirty-six hours. You know exhausted workers are a hazard to themselves and the people they're trying to help. You were incredibly stupid to run that risk. You're usually smarter than that."
"Monty was sure there was someone--" Why was she arguing? He was right. The only way to stay alive in situations like this was to stick to the rules and not act on impulse. She should have gone by the book. "I'm sorry, Boyd."
"You should be." He scowled. "You're one of my best people, and I won't have you thrown off the team because you're thinking with your heart instead of your head. You endangered not only yourself but your dog. What would you have done if that wall had fallen and killed Monty?"
"It wouldn't have killed Monty. I'd have thrown myself on top of him and let you dig the wall off me." She smiled faintly. "I know who's important around here."
"Very funny." He shook his head. "Except you're not joking."
"No." She rubbed her eyes. "She had a rosary in her hand, Boyd. She must have grabbed it when the quake started. But it didn't help her, did it?"
"I guess not."
"She couldn't have been over sixteen, and she was pregnant."
"Yeah." She gently tugged on Monty's leash. "We'll be back in a little while."
"You're not listening. I'm in charge of this search, Sarah. I want you to rest. We've probably found all the live ones. I'm expecting the order to pull out tomorrow. The Russian team can finish searching for the dead."
"All the more reason to work harder until the order comes. None of the Russians' dogs has Monty's nose. You know he's incredible."
"You're not so bad yourself. Do you know the other members of the team are making bets on whether or not you can actually read that dog's mind?" "That's pretty dumb. They're all close to their own dogs. They know that when you live with an animal, you get to learn how to read them."
"Not like you."
"Why are we talking about this? The important thing is Monty is unique. He's found survivors before when everyone had given up hope. He may find more today."