Hide and Seek

In Too Deep

Kiss and Tell

On Thin Ice

Out of Sight

Seducing Mr. Right

Night Shadow
by Cherry Adair
(Ballantine, $23, PG-13) ISBN 978-0-345-49973-8
With Night Shadow, Cherry Adair rounds off her Night trilogy featuring special agents with psychic powers. I missed the first two, and after plodding through this one, I don't regret it a whit.

Alexis "Lexi" Stone and Alexander "Alex" Stone both work for T-FLAC, an international anti-terrorism agency. She used to be a researcher and pencil pusher at the Montana headquarters. He used to roam the globe, using his special paranormal powers to bring down evil and injustice one fight at a time. But now she has been armed and trained and sent out to the field. Her mission? Find out whether Alex has turned rogue, and if so shoot to kill.

Lexi catches up with Alex in Moscow, where he helps her fight off some oddly familiar terrorists. Then, they are off to Taipei (to deal with a bomb threat); Rio (to rest and recuperate); Los Alamos (to investigate the unusual products of a lab) and a couple of other high-voltage points on the map (to do what anti-terrorist squads do best).

In the process, Alex displays suspicious behavior more than once, but Lexi isn't convinced she should turn him in. She has always had a bit of a crush on him, and now he is finally paying attention. Then there are all the other strange things going on that neither she nor others can make heads or tails of. She opts for trusting her instincts and those of the other women in the team. Eventually (since this is a thriller) the evil plot is uncovered, and (since this is a romance) love quite literally conquers all.

The harum-scarum story and its quirky humor did little for me. First, it's hard to believe how a research buff with photographic memory like Lexi could turn overnight into a top-level field operative. No wait. I get it. We're talking fiction and fantasy here, where incredible things happen to larger-than-life people. Then what about Lexi's and Alex's sub-par intelligence? Fairly early on, they and their buddies stumble into a lab where odd things are hatching. It's fairly obvious what's going on, but not so for our intrepid hero and indomitable heroine: they are too confused and bewildered to even pursue the question.

They are not the only with limited intellectual power. They are matched against one of those ei-vil scientist guys, the kind planning on taking over the entire world despite a less than impressive I.Q.

Despite all the obvious professional reasons not to, Lexi and Alex have a hot and heavy romance. Frankly, it was a little too much talk and not enough show for me, and I don't mean the graphic kind, either. I like to see why a guy falls for a woman. Hearing him repeat it over and over just doesn't do it or me.

Adair, who has made a name for herself writing racy, action-packed adventure romance, clearly has a vivid imagination and a latent sense of humor. Unfortunately, she does not use either very effectively this time round.  

-- Mary Benn

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