|The story opens as Dr. Meredith Boren is visiting her family’s lake house in order to finally dispose of the personal property of her ex-fiancé Gage Parrish. Gage had been unwilling to make the final commitment of marriage and they broken up, soon followed by his death.
Meredith is surprised by an intruder at night and finds a man in the kitchen over the sink. To her shock, it is Gage, alive but not well, as he is trying to clean a gunshot wound. She responds as a physician first and when the blood flow is staunched and the wound is treated, it becomes time for him to explain.
During their affair, Gage worked as an arson investigator, always putting his job before everything and everyone. It came as no surprise to Meredith that he had been investigating an arson ring that allegedly involved some of their city’s top officials. His death had marked his entry into the witness protection program. His obvious exit from the program was caused by his overhearing a conversation that directed his federal marshal protector to terminate him. Barely escaping, he was shot in the process.
Gage’s aim now is to keep Meredith out of this, but another late intruder is the marshal who shot him. Meredith permanently embroils herself in his affairs when she kills the marshal. Not to worry, Gage is working under the protection of the Attorney General’s Office, so he calls them in to dispose of the body. They flee to another summer lake house, merely changing the focus of the hunt for them. The trial is upcoming and they need to stay safe for a brief period of time. It is however unclear what Gage is testifying about since there was apparently no clear evidence of arson.
Meanwhile Gage enlists Meredith’s aid to help him solve the missing link of the accelerant problem…one must be identified to prove the arson and this one has left no trace. Between avoiding the participants of the killer arson ring, and revisiting their past, the story progresses as most readers will anticipate.
The plot line is an old one, varied only by the variety added to the chase scenes and personalities of Gage and Meredith. Their character development is good, but fans of Debra Cowan have come to expect this from her; dialog is consistent with the personalities she has created, but again Cowan fans have been spoiled and always expect this from her.
The tiredness of the plot line is balanced by Cowan’s usual expertise in filling it out with semi-memorable characters that make The Private Bodyguard an average reading experience.