Beloved Stranger

Beloved Warrior

The Black Knave

Broken Honor

Cold Target

Dancing With a Rogue

The Diamond King

Home For Christmas

The Perfect Family


Star Keeper

Tangle of Lies

Tempting the Devil

Twisted Shadows

Catch a Shadow
by Patricia Potter
(Berkley, $7.99, PG) ISBN 0-425-22119-8
Kirke Palmer is a paramedic working in Atlanta. She and her partner respond to a hit and run call and as she tries to ease the suffering of the victim who is dying, she responds to his last request. She is given an envelope and promises to deliver it to a Mitch Edwards in Dallas. Inasmuch as this would be regarded as a personal effect, it breaks her department policy of not taking anything belonging to a patient as well as the police requirement that items belonging to a victim should not be removed from the scene.

The man has identification showing that he is Mark Cable, but police can find no evidence to prove that he is such as fingerprints, etc. Someone shows up purporting to be David Cable, his brother, to check on him, but then quickly disappears.

Returning home, Kirke is confronted at her door by David Cable, to thank her for her assistance and to ask if his brother had said anything to her at the scene. Kirke is suspicious as well as being paranoid because she has not followed the rules and does not tell him anything.  David Cable leaves, only to return surreptitiously because his instincts tell him she is in danger.

Why does David Cable feel this way? He was at the scene when the victim was run down and saw him give Kirke something. He had been there to meet that man in response to a phone call received years later than it should have come. David Cable is one of the many aliases of Jake Kelly who is also Mitch Edwards…now an ex-con as a result of a vicious framing in a South American country in 2000.

Jake had headed the Special Force half of a tenuous partnership with two CIA men while trying to exchange five million dollars in diamonds for nuclear weapons. He had been knocked unconscious, and upon awakening found his two men dead, and the CIA men, missing, presumed kidnapped and dead. The diamonds were also missing and a mysterious deposit of $500,000 was found in a bank account in his name he had never set up. The CIA pushed the charges and he ended up with prison time.

He had just been released when the call came telling him if he wanted to know what went on in that South American jungle, he should meet the caller in Atlanta at a specific place. Jake arrived, only to watch as the caller is hit by the car and then hands an envelope to Kirke. He also saw the other missing CIA man near the scene. Jake sees this as an opportunity to clear his name and is on it, fully aware that he is violating parole conditions by being in another state and armed with a weapon.

Jake feels a duty to protect Kirke. This is the plot structure and it evolves into a struggle between Kirke and Jake as they both have trust issues and other baggage to reconcile with their unwanted attractions to each other.

This is a fairly common plot line but enjoyable because the characters are fairly well developed with occasional great dialog assisted by the uncommon presence of a parrot named Merlin in their lives. Much of the story focuses on the budding romance between Jake and Kirke, and the various attempts on her life. This leaves the actual solving of the message from the string of numbers found in the mysterious envelope too little space to be totally credible.

--Thea Davis

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