Remembering Jake by Cheryl Biggs
(Silh. Int. Mom. #953, $4.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-07953-2
***
Remembering Jake is heavy on intrigue, which causes the romance to take a backseat. Those readers who like intrigue and don't mind a diluted relationship may find this story to their liking.

FBI agent Jake Blagette has come back to Reimour Crossings, Georgia. During his last visit three years ago, he was beaten, burned and left for dead. What his attackers didn't know was that he survived, although he was in a coma for a year. With a new face and a new name, Mitch Ryan, he's going to find out who betrayed him and caused the murder of his brother. All the clues point to Tina Peychaud, the woman he had asked to marry. Is she his betrayer?

When stranger Mitch Ryan comes into Tina's café, she senses a familiarity, but can't figure out why. She's leery of strangers and is reluctant to become interested in anyone. Loving FBI agent Jake Blagette hadn't gotten her anything but heartache and young twin sons. He left her high and dry without a backward glance.

Mitch is still attracted to Tina, but is very unsure of her. A great deal of the book is spent as Mitch reiterates . . . over and over . . . that Tina is the most likely suspect. She's the only one who knew that he was an agent. So why did she betray him? Did she betray him? Who helped her? What was her reason? How can he trust her? Will she try to kill him again? Is she a good mother? Should he try for custody? Did she betray him? Did she betr . . . ?

With Mitch's POV being constantly thrust at us, it's hard to get interested in Mitch and Tina's relationship. The secondary characters are lackluster, except for a redneck sheriff who's interested in Tina. He's so oily and smarmy that he adds comic relief. We know he's up to no good, especially when he gives Mitch a ticket for barely going over the speed limit.

In suspense and intrigue stories, the villain either is right under our nose the whole time or comes from nowhere. The person who betrayed Mitch comes from farther back then right field. Try the bleachers. Feeling stupid with all my dead end guesses doesn't make me that fond of a plot, and there were so many red herrings that things got a bit too fishy-smelling.

All in all, Remembering Jake is a really good example of a three-heart review. I wanted more romance, more believable conflict and less of Mitch/Jake looking over his shoulder, wondering why Tina ‘done him wrong.' Those of you who like a bit of romance with your intrigue may find this an enjoyable story.

--Linda Mowery


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