Line of Fire

Secret Agent Man

 
The Medusa Seduction
by Cindy Dees
(SRS  #1494, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373 27564-9
****
The Medusa Seduction is another “Medusa” story highlighting the female operatives who are trained to the approximate level of Seals and Rangers, and who answer to a general with limitless power and accountability only to the White House.

Apart from a suspense story, and apart from the romance that is integrated into each of these suspense plots, there is another dimension in The Medusa Seduction. Cindy Dees develops her heroine Sophie as one challenged to overcome deep-seated fears and in that process she remakes herself. This added dimension elevates an average romantic suspense plot to a four heart level.

As a child Sophie grew up next door to an Arab family, learning to speak their dialect with her playmate, their son Freddie. The family moved and Sophie lost touch. When older she sustained a career ending injury to a knee while competing on the ski slopes at a near Olympic level. She has yet to don her skis again and as years pass that occasion becomes more remote.

Instead Sophie exists as a legal secretary with occasional bouts of jogging and tentative efforts at becoming more physically fit. Returning from a run one day, she is confronted and hustled into a waiting car by Brian Riley who identifies himself as an agent for Homeland Security. Sophie is tenacious enough and smart enough to insist on a verification of identity and employment. When satisfied, she agrees to listen to his proposition.

Flown to San Diego and situated in a beach house, the pitch is made. Homeland Security has identified a potential nuclear threat to the US, which will be mounted by the current super vicious terrorist of the year...Sophie’s old childhood friend Freddie. Most disturbing is that all other people who could now identify him have died in some mysterious manner or other.

Initially all they want from Sophie is an I. D. of Freddie and then they will take appropriate action – translate this to assassination. Clearly they suspect that I.D. is impossible and their back up plan is to have Sophie infiltrate Freddie’s compound, place a tracking device on him and get out before the bomb hits. Do we really think this can be accomplished without loss of her life? I think not, and neither does Brian.

Initially, Brian is following orders in the recruitment process, but after immediately falling for Sophie he starts regretting his role in it. Sophie has also fallen for Brian and she accepts the challenge knowing she will be spending time with him.

The time spent with Brian is consumed by his attempt to make her physically fit and mentally strong enough to attempt the mission. Sophie begins to change and becomes more self confident and assured.  An attempt is made on her life and Homeland Security realizes that walking into the compound as an unknown is now impossible. Brian wants to jettison his career, run with her to Paraguay and buy new identities.

Sophie and Brian are well-drawn characters, and Dees makes excellent use of location in The Medusa Seduction. Cindy Dees’ skill is evident in drawing all parts of this plot to satisfying conclusion.

--Thea Davis


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