Eight Days to Live
St. Martin’s, Apr 20 2010, $27.99
Found all around the world, the cult worships Judas Iscariot, who they believe was God’s Chosen One to betray Jesus in order to fulfill a biblical prophecy. The members know for certain that Judas is in Heaven sitting next to God. They meet annually on April 1 to provide a human sacrificial blood offer in Judas’ name.
Jane McGuire is having an art show of her work at the Denarve Gallery in Paris. Someone wants to spend a fortune on “Guilt”, a picture of a man whose face is tortured by internal demons. The Judas followers believe Jane committed blasphemy with her painting; so they decide she shall be this year’s sacrifice. The picture came to her in dreams, but the cult thinks with the vivid details within the portrait she has been to the holy place where an ancient treasure is concealed. They try to grab her, however Jane escapes, but not before learning she is to be their Offering. Jane calls the expert for advice, her adopted mom Eve Duncan and her lover Joe. Two men are after Jane with differing motives, but share in common that her loved ones are expendable.
Eight Days to Live is Iris Johansen at her very best in a fresh switch in which Eve and Joe play secondary roles while Jane stars. She calls on Caleb, a man with psychic powers who applies them in such a way that Eve does not approve. However he remains Jane’s only hope to survive the next eight days. This is a gripping one sitting suspense thriller. Harriet Klausner
The Book of Spies
St. Martin’s, Mar 30 2010, $25.99
Rare book expert Eva Blake knows justice is a sham when she is convicted of her husband’s death in a car accident in which she insisted throughout she was the passenger. While she unfairly remains behind bars, The CIA during a forensic financial sweep in the Middle East learns of the rumored Library of Gold where priceless ancient tomes are allegedly stored; they even obtained a copy of the Book of Spies sold on the black market by a “librarian”. The spy agency knows Eva’s husband was a believer that the Library of Gold exists so offer Eva a deal which she accepts.
Freed from prison with the job of locating the library, Eva is stunned when she sees her spouse alive as she went to jail for his death. Even more shocking is that she realize that her husband was not just a myth believer, but is the director of the Library of Gold. When she meets Judd Ryder he tries to persuade her that his motives involve the murder of his espionage agent father whose death he ties to the keepers of the Library of Gold. However, as she has quickly learned during her inquiry, Eva trusts no one, not even the Feds who released her from prison or a son insisting he seeks a killer because the Library of Gold influential agents are everywhere.
This is an exciting treasure hunt espionage conspiracy thriller that grips the audience the moment the CIA enlist Eva to conduct their research and never releases the reader as the heroine becomes paranoid with justification during her dangerous investigation. The story line is fast-paced throughout even with a seemingly cast of thousands support characters that Cecil B. Demille would appreciate. However, Eva and to a lesser degree Judd make this an enjoyable read as trust no one is the norm. Harriet Klausner