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The Daughter

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The Disappearance
by Jasmine Cresswell
(Mira, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 1-55166-486-0
****
Jasmine Cresswell has written an elaborate story of suspense that includes a fair amount of romance. The story line for The Disappearance is fast paced and filled with all the elements necessary for good, escapist fiction, including intrigue, romance, greed and betrayal.

Research scientist Dr. Joseph Malone is in jail in the United States on a bogus drug charge. He knows this is all part of an elaborate plan by his enemies to get him to disclose the details of a great scientific discovery he made while working in the Amazon rain forest.

Joseph can only hope that his time in jail will give him the opportunity to think and come up with his own plan of action. He's also counting on a message being delivered to and understood by his good friend and colleague, Summer Shepard.

Professor Summer Shepard is passionate about the preserving the rain forest. She has devoted her life to gathering statistics and educating anyone who will listen about the treasure this planet is losing and the dangers inherent in the loss.

Despite being the daughter of the U.S. Secretary of State, or maybe because of it, Summer has little interest in the political games being played in Washington, D.C. She also has little liking for her gorgeous, seemingly perfect stepmother and her stepmother's gorgeous, seemingly perfect brother, Duncan Ryder, a State Department counselor.

However, after the Brazilian Justice League kidnaps her and exchanges her for Joseph Malone, Summer realizes she is not just attracted to Duncan, she feels safe with him. And she knows she is going to need his help.

Summer is determined to find Joseph and she must figure out the true meaning of the message he sent her, but she doesn't know whom to trust. The FBI and even her father are not completely convinced that Summer didn't mastermind her own kidnapping in order to bring attention to environmental concerns.

Summer knows she is a pawn, but she's not certain of the game she is being made to play nor does she know who is masterminding the game. Duncan is her best and only ally; she needs his connections, his command of languages and his unshakable faith in her integrity.

While The Disappearance lacks the simple yet undeniable tension of Cresswell's previous book, The Daughter, it has an intriguing and very complex story line. Instead of slow building tension you get adrenaline inducing, action-packed pages.

For the most part, I happily inhaled the complexities, the twists and turns in this story. I did, however, have trouble believing that U.S. Intelligence sources would have so little information on the Brazilian Justice League. The FBI should easily have been able to dig up names and addresses for members.

Still, The Disappearance is an exciting and engrossing read. This story should appeal to mystery and romance readers alike.

--Judith Flavell


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