Saturday, May 30, 2009

Outcast-Joan Johnston

Joan Johnston
Mira, Jul 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778325741

Ben Benedict works for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) branch of Homeland Security after a stint as an army sniper. He currently works with the Washington DC Police Department’s gang unit while seeking an al Qaeda operative allegedly planning a biochemical attack. Still suffering from nightmares from his overseas duty, Ben is mortified when he must shoot a teen.

Ben is assigned to receive counseling from therapist, Dr. Anna Schuster, but remains on the job seeking the terrorist. He wants nothing to do with the shrink and refuses to cooperate insisting he is not crazy. She refuses to quit though she is concerned about breeching doctor-patient ethics when she finds she is attracted to him. As they fall in love and make love, they team up to prevent a killer from harming potentially millions.

Ben makes this exciting homeland security romantic suspense seem relevant as he personal struggles with demons he brought back from the war compounded by his shooting the teen is real as the army and marines besieged by suicides to the military’s credit are trying to help the soldiers. Thus his at his first encounter with Anna he is nasty as he rejects the concept of needing outside help. The hunt for the terrorist is entertaining though the use of key flukes of luck detracts from a deep character driven thriller.

Harriet Klausner

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