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Hunter's Woman
by Lindsay McKenna
(Silh. Sp. Edition #1255, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-24255-7
***
Lindsay McKenna's biography in the front of Hunter's Woman describes her as "a practicing homeopath and emergency medical technician." Her medical knowledge certainly comes to the fore in this novel which centers on an act of bioterrorism, a most frightening concept. Likewise, her advocacy of homeopathy is an important aspect of the story. And, yes, there is a nice "second chance at love" tale as well.

Ty Hunter is a member of the super secret Perseus Force, which undertakes the most difficult and dangerous missions for the government. His new assignment sends him to the Amazon basin. A strange outbreak of disease in a remote Indian village has been reported, an outbreak that began after a plane flew over and "spit" at the village. A team from the Office of Infectious Diseases, headed by Dr. Catt Alborak, is already on its way to Brazil. Hunter is detailed to assist the team in whatever fashion possible and to try to discover whether the dreaded Black Dawn terrorist organization might be behind the incident.

Imagine Ty's surprise when he discovers that Catt Alborak is the woman he loved and lost when he was a shavetail lieutenant, just out of the Naval Academy. Cathy (as she was then called) had gotten pregnant, but Ty, with an important assignment underway, had been less than immediately supportive. Cathy had disappeared, after letting him know that she had miscarried. But Ty had never forgotten his first and only love.

Catt is stunned when Ty Hunter waltzes back into her life. In the ten years since they had parted, she had made a name for herself as an expert on infectious diseases. But she had never again trusted any man to get close to her. She doesn't want Ty anywhere around, but her orders give her no choice. Forced into close quarters with a man she still finds dangerously attractive, Catt tries to believe that Ty is still the irresponsible man who abandoned her at her time of greatest need. But his apparently genuine grief and regret cause her to reassess her own feelings and actions.

For his part, Ty wants Catt to forgive him. He knows that he was wrong ten years earlier and that his actions lost him something irreplaceable. He hopes that they will have a second chance.

This relationship is set against a backdrop of a dreadful outbreak of bioengineered anthrax that doesn't respond to the latest antibiotics. Catt is devastated with the deaths, and turns to Ty for comfort. She also turns to him for his skill with homeopathic medicine, the only hope for the Juma people. The plot thickens when local drug lords threaten and the legendary female warrior Inca comes to the rescue.

The romance between Ty and Catt is nicely drawn and we do root for them to find happiness. But I have to admit that there was a tinge of advocacy about the rest of the book that occasionally took me out of the story. My knowledge of homeopathic medicine is pretty slim but I admit to wondering about its efficacy in fighting a dread foe like anthrax, especially since the author provided no details about how it worked.

Hunter's Woman is obviously part of a series detailing the activities of Perseus. As I am unfamiliar with the previous books, I admit to a feeling of having come in on the middle of a conversation as I read this particular installment. It didn't exactly decrease my enjoyment of the book all that much, but it did leave me feeling a bit out of the loop.

Still, McKenna has provided an enjoyable love story in an exotic setting. Hunter's Woman is a quite acceptable romance.

--Jean Mason


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