Iris Johansen
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Buy *Countdown* online

Countdown: An Eve Duncan Forensics Thriller
Iris Johansen
528 pages
March 2006
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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In her previous Eve Duncan book, Johansen introduced readers to the legend of Ciraís gold and left readers in suspense about the existence of the gold as well as the growing sexual tension between Jane MacGuire, the headstrong seventeen-year old adopted by forensic sculptor Eve Duncan, and lethal conman Mark Trevor.

Now, four years down the lane, Jane is in college when someone attempts to kidnap her and a tragedy occurs during the ensuing shootout. A shocked Jane doesnít have to wonder why for long as Trevor predictably shows up once again with an explanation thatís as deadly as it is twisted and unbelievable.

Once again Ciraís gold is the epicenter of a Machiavellian conspiracy, this time of the modern-day terrorist variety. Jane finds herself with no option but to go to Scotland with this dangerously intriguing man to whom sheís no longer forbidden, nor she him. Passion and violence abound, betrayal is the order of the day even as the solution to a two- thousand-year-old mystery promises to change the face of the present forever.

Iris Johansen has built up quite a following over the years and a well-deserved one with a series of novels such as The Wind Dancer and Body of Lies. However, since the previous book, Blind Alley, the series has taken a new direction, deviating from hitherto central character Eve Duncan and focusing more on her adopted daughter, emerging character Jane MacGuire, and the search for a legendary treasure trove of gold. The change isnít all that bad; it did take the series out of the rut it was slowly sinking into. But the jump from contemporary crime-solving forensic novels to a treasure-hunt type of mystery, no matter how thrilling, does take some adjusting to.

Thatís over now, and in this story the raw sexual tension between a now grown-up Jane and confirmed rogue Trevor heats up the pages while the ongoing search for the mythical gold ensures historical ambiance as well as an abundant supply of villains and, consequently, plenty of action, suspense and thrills. As before, some ongoing mysteries are solved while others are introduced, same with side characters. Overall, this story can be termed a satisfyingly complex and rich mixture of emotions and action that yet again leaves readers anticipating more of the same from this talented author in the future.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Rashmi Srinivas, 2005

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