Beauty & the Badge

Bride of Trouville

The Doctor's Mission

Down to the Wire

From Mission to Marriage

The Highland Wife

In Harm's Way

Kiss or Kill

The Knight's Bride

Live-In Lover

Marrying Mischief

My Lady's Choice

The Quest

The Scot

The Viscount

The Wilder Wedding

Claimed by the Secret Agent
by Lyn Stone
(SRS # 1552, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-27622-6
Translator and US Embassy employee Marie Beauclair has joined the list of yet another embassy employee kidnapped for ransom. Suspected to be a function of an arm of a terrorist organization, these crimes serve the dual purpose of garnering money for arms, and striking fear in the hearts of embassy employees in Europe.

Since Marie has not seen her family since age 12 and the US does not negotiate with terrorists it lies within the realm of a covert organization to rescue her. Enter the much vaunted agency Compass, a secret arm of the US Intelligence. This novel is another story involving this group whose operators have paranormal talents.

Agent Grant Tindal has been assigned the task of rescuing Marie from an unknown location in Europe. Marie is not precisely what she appears; although a translator, she is a CIA operative with a photographic memory. Stunningly beautiful she garners intelligence through the age old act of the dumb blonde who listens. Compass is trying to recruit Marie for her memory and has thus taken over the rescue effort from the CIA.

Grant is not pleased with the assignment as it hearkens him back to the time when he was twelve and the beautiful high school senior he had a crush on suddenly went missing and he could not persuade people to search for her. She had been relegated to the runaway category. Years and years later this is his angst.

At age twelve, Marie blackmailed her stepfather to leave town with the threat of reporting his sexual abuse. The threat worked but her mother went with him; instead of entering foster care Marie struck a deal with the next door neighbor to masquerade as her grandmother and finished school. Details like food, clothing, rent and utilities apparently are not important enough to mention.

Marie trusts no one. Grant arrives conveniently at the place she is being held, conveniently at the time she is escaping through the window. Hurriedly, he returns her to her home in Munich. Although appreciating the ride, she does not feel particularly indebted to him; she is merely returning to home base so she can regroup and get her equipment to go after the kidnappers. Grant thought that was his job and intended to do it alone. After Marie eludes him and he has to chase her back to the scene, he permits her to partner up.

There, they find a piece of paper one of the kidnappers had written on and dropped when he left. From touching this paper Grant is able to know which hotel in which city the kidnapper has fled. They proceed there and many paranormal coincidences later Marie is able to identify a top operative's identity from a photograph in a more than 20 year of National Geographic photo.

The characters are identified only be their talents and their angst. The getting to know you time is peppered by paranormal revelations which are used to advance the plot line only. The dialog is shallow and meets only the exigency of the moment.

All this equals a less than average rating.

--Thea Davis

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