Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Never Say Die" by Tess Gerritsen

Willy Maitland wants to find answers regarding the apparent death of her father twenty years ago. He was reknowned pilot "Wild Bill" Maitland, whose plane crashed in the jungles of Vietnam. However, Willy isn't entirely convinced that he is really dead, and has promised her dying mother she will uncover the truth. She is forced to rely upon the help of mercenary Guy Barnard, who has his own reasons for wanting to find out the truth.

As Willy becomes subject to threats on her life, and the people they interview wind up dead, the two soon realise that there are people out there who want the truth behind the plane crash to remain a secret.

Even going all the way back to 1992, when this romantic thriller by Gerritsen was first released, it was clear that Gerritsen had more talent than her romance novelist counterparts. Sure, the usual cliches of Willy and Guy finding each other "damnably" attractive are present, as are the insecurities both have over what might happen if they gave in to their desires, but Gerritsen also has a sure grip on plotting and pacing. She is able to set the scene in Vietnam quite nicely without going overboard in her descriptions, providing a nice, light travelogue. There is plenty of action as Willy avoids numerous attempts on her life, and even a little genuine intrigue as to the mystery behind the plane crash. It all builds to a pretty decent climax in the jungles of Vietnam. Don't be mistaken - this is strictly romantic suspense fodder, but it comes in at the top end of the scale, and it's not hard to see why Gerritsen went on to much bigger, better things.

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