Thursday, July 15, 2010

DEATH ECHO by Elizabeth Lowell

Publisher: Harper Collins
Date Published: June 8,
ISBN: 978-0061629754
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained via Publisher

A year ago a black hulled pleasure craft went missing somewhere between Asia and the United States. The insurance company paid out the claim for the Black Swan, the missing luxury yacht and went about its business. Sort of. Now, a year later, another boat, Blackbird, the twin of Black Swan, is on its way to the Pacific Northwest. This time St. Kilda Consulting is going to make certain the boat reaches its destination. That isn't necessarily in the hands of the mysterious owner. This time Emma Cross, a former CIA operative is sent to insure the boat is delivered intact. What concerns St. Kilda and Emma is the news the boat has been modified for a chemical, biological or nuclear attack. She needs to locate and secure Blackbird before that can happen.

Mac Durand left the clandestine life of secret missions behind for the placid life of delivering boats to their destinations. After a youth spent doing what all the kids in town did – smuggling – he cut his ties and left for the larger world. With his return he's relieved to have left the darker side of life behind, yet sees its vestiges in visits with his former friends, especially Tommy. He feels guilt for getting out. Yet he wouldn't go back and do it different. When he meets Emma Cross he knows he's met his match.

With seven days before intelligence says an attack is set Emma and Mac need to find the right boat and make sure it doesn't fall into the wrong hands.

The synopsis for Elizabeth Lowell's DEATH ECHO was almost as hard to write as the book was to read. I really struggled to finish this one. Elizabeth Lowell is new to me as an author although for many years I have seen her books and picked up a few for reading when I have time for a leisurely read. This one left me flat.

The story concept is highly intriguing – twin boats, one on a mission of death and destruction, one an innocent decoy. All that separates the two is a scratch on one of the cabinet doors in a place you'd need to know where to look. There are loop holes that left me unable to connect the dots. Perhaps if I had read the first four St. Kilda books I would have a better sense of the plot points.

Emma is hot – she tells us she is and she knows Mac thinks she is too because she tells us that too. In two days she and Mac are ready to be all over each other, but I couldn't figure out why. Okay, they are both attractive, but I never saw the chemistry between them. Given the publisher classifies DEATH ECHO as a novel of suspense rather than romantic suspense excuses the lack of romantic build up. They have sex and then can't wait to do it again.

We never know where the original intelligence on the two boats came from except from the mysterious Alara. None of the alphabet agencies plays fair and that makes for dropped threads. I had a hard time trying to figure out why, if they know the boat poses a danger to U.S. soil it wasn't taken into custody from the git go. The premise was good; it just didn't follow through for me.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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