Death Echo (St. Kilda Series #4)

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Overview

New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Lowell cuts a new edge in romantic suspense

When she joined St. Kilda's, the elite security consulting firm, Emma Cross thought she'd left behind the blood, guilt, and Tribal Wars that defined her life at the CIA. Yet trading spying for investigating yacht thefts didn't alleviate the danger.

With some arm-twisting, St. Kilda and Emma are tracking a yacht that went missing somewhere between Vladivostok...

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Death Echo (St. Kilda Series #4)

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Overview

New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Lowell cuts a new edge in romantic suspense

When she joined St. Kilda's, the elite security consulting firm, Emma Cross thought she'd left behind the blood, guilt, and Tribal Wars that defined her life at the CIA. Yet trading spying for investigating yacht thefts didn't alleviate the danger.

With some arm-twisting, St. Kilda and Emma are tracking a yacht that went missing somewhere between Vladivostok and Portland a year ago. Emma knows the boat's intended cargo is lethal. What she needs to find out is whether it's biological, chemical, or fissionable. And she's got only seven days to uncover the truth . . . or a major American city will be lost.

Fortunately, she's working with a new partner as menacing and distrustful as the worst enemy she's ever faced—and as deadly. Thrown together by an organization of enemies with global ties more dangerous than either of them realizes, Mac and Emma must put aside their growing attraction for each other to save more than just their own lives.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Lowell’s well-crafted fifth St. Kilda Consulting thriller (after Blue Smoke and Murder), Manhattan operative Emma Cross travels to Seattle, Wash., where Blackbird, a yacht purported to contain enough explosives to destroy a major U.S. city, is being offloaded from a container ship. Posing as the representative of a buyer interested in the yacht, Emma connects with MacKenzie “Mac” Durand, Blackbird’s transit captain, who’s supposed to deliver the boat to a commissioning yard in the San Juan Islands. Emma and Mac, who has a background in special ops, wind up becoming unlikely allies on a dangerous sea journey in which they find themselves succumbing to their mutual attraction. Forced into a high stakes encounter with a pair of Russian spies, they come to realize that the scope of their mission is much greater than they at first assumed. Lowell’s primary focus on espionage rather than on romance is a major change from earlier novels, albeit a pleasing one. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
An international espionage crisis mixes with lighthearted romance on the high seas. Former CIA operative Emma Cross works for St. Kilda's Consulting, a private-investigating company run by Joe Faroe and his wife Grace, both familiar to Lowell fans from The Wrong Hostage (2006) and now proud parents of a baby who distracts them during every phone call and meeting. St. Kilda's has been looking for stolen yachts but the stakes skyrocket with word that a boat named the Blackbird is arriving at a small port on Elliott Bay near Seattle loaded with ammunition-whether biological, chemical or fissionable-to destroy a large American city within the next seven days. St. Kilda's is enlisted to help stop the perpetrators of the urban devastation before it happens. When the boat arrives, Emma keeps an eye on Mac Durand, who was hired to captain the Blackbird as far as Elliott Bay by a local shady transporting company with links to a Russian breakaway state. Mac used to be a member of Special Ops until a CIA screw-up caused the death of most of his unit; like everyone else in this book, he now distrusts government. Then his oldest friend, who was scheduled to sail the Blackbird north to Canada, dies under mysterious circumstances, and Mac agrees to work for St. Kilda's. Posing as lovers, hunky Mac and gorgeous Emma sail the Blackbird together into Canadian waters hoping to flush out the Eastern European politico-criminal elements behind the plot. Lowell's short chapters, each headed with date, time and location, bring to mind TV's 24, but despite the looming seven day deadline, there's little real sense of urgency. Though refreshingly cynical, the complicated political machinations remain underdeveloped. Lowell's main focus, beside an appreciation for high-end boating, is the sexual heat building between Mac and Emma, who banter on unperturbed that time is running out before Seattle blows. The predictable romance decreases the suspense in this low-wattage thriller.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061664427
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/25/2011
  • Series: St. Kilda Series , #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 332,940
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Lowell

Elizabeth Lowell's acclaimed suspense novels include the New York Times bestsellers Death Echo, Blue Smoke and Murder, Innocent as Sin, The Wrong Hostage, Always Time to Die, The Color of Death, Die in Plain Sight, Running Scared, and Moving Target, as well as four books featuring the Donovan family: Amber Beach, Jade Island, Pearl Cove, and Midnight in Ruby Bayou. Lowell has more than thirty million books in print. She lives in Nevada with her husband, with whom she writes mystery novels under a pseudonym.

Las aclamadas novelas de suspenso de la autora Elizabeth Lowell incluyen varios bestsellers en la New York Times. Lowell ha vendido más de treinta millones de ejemplares. Vive con su esposo en Seattle, Washington y Sedona, Arizona, con quien escribe novelas de misterio bajo un seudónimo.

Biography

Extensive and versatile, Elizabeth Lowell's résumé of titles (in almost every genre) is as long as the list of her various pen names. She's written science fiction, mystery and romance. She's also penned historical fiction and collaborated on a movie novelization. So prolific is Lowell that she and her husband, Evan Maxwell, have had to create a whole raft of pseudonyms for her books.

Her earliest work, from the 1970s, is science fiction and is written under her actual name, Ann Maxwell. The romances she and her husband began writing together in the early '90s are under the same name, because their publisher wanted a female author’s name on the cover. Their Southern California mystery series featuring the divorced lovers Fiddler and Fiora are written under A. E. Maxwell (Ann and Evan), while their joint novelization of the 1992 Val Kilmer movie Thunderheart is under the name Lowell Charters (his middle name and her maiden name.)

Her biggest solo success, the romance novels that have taken her repeatedly to The New York Times bestseller list, are credited to Elizabeth Lowell -- a combination of the couple’s middle names.

Lowell’s romances are noted for their sass and, of course, their sex. But her characterizations, particularly, draw high marks. "Elizabeth Lowell's talent is enormous," wrote The Romance Reader in its review of 1984's Forget Me Not. "She has made a well-deserved name for herself by crafting likable, plucky heroines and enigmatic but intelligent heroes." And, in 1996 the Chicago Tribune wrote, "The protagonist she has chosen for her hardcover debut, Winter Fire could give a Navy SEAL lessons in survival."

Lowell embarked on a popular series in 1997 with the publication of Amber Beach, which introduced readers to the Donovan family, titans in the menacing world of precious gemstones who must dodge murderers, thieves, and power-hungry governments to protect their business. Of the first in the series, Kirkus Reviews wrote, "A romance that offers all the sexual tension, adventure and squishy clichés that fans of the genre could possibly want."

When Lowell was getting started as sci-fi writer Ann Maxwell, she was writing on legal pads while caring for her two young children. Evan was a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, covering international crime. In the early 1980s, after he had already collaborated on three mystery novels with Lowell, Maxwell decided to quit daily journalism and write fiction full-time.

The couple has since become a cottage industry of genre fiction operating out of their Seattle-area home. They collaborate on some projects, go solo on others. Lowell has described a seven-day-a week work packed with deadlines, an organized effort that starts out with book outlines that typically take about a month to draft as well as character sketches. Then the writing begins.

"My fiction deals with problems of strength rather than problems of weakness," she told Contemporary Authors. There is no appeal or purpose for me in reading -- or writing -- fiction that portrays incessant, excruciating, and pointless pain in the lives of characters."

Good To Know

Readers are surprised to find out that the books Lowell writes with her husband are true collaborations. "In fact, a lot of people, once they know, say, 'Oh, I know who did this in the book, and I know who did this,' and they're almost invariably wrong," she told the Los Angeles Times.

Two of the most intriguing time periods for Lowell are medieval England and the post-Civil War period in the American West. "In both cases it was a time of expanded possibilities for individuals, regardless of birth or heritage, to create a better life and, ultimately, a better world, from chaos," she told Contemporary Authors.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Ann Maxwell; A .E. Maxwell; Annalise Sun; Lowell Charters
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 5, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    1. Education:
      B. A., University of California, 1966

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 112 )
Rating Distribution

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(31)

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(30)

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(24)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 114 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    action-packed romantic suspense

    She left her field CIA work for what she assumed would be a much safer position. Thus former agent Emma Cross now works at St. Kilda Consulting in what has to be an easier job than being caught in the crossfire of tribal combat as she previously was.

    St. Kilda looks into a simple incident of a vanished yacht the Black Swan that probably was stolen. The mission is to get on board the Black Swan's identical twin Blackbird as the insurance company thinks the second vessel is actually the missing ship. Emma and former special op officer Mackenzie Durand are in charge of the assignment. He trusts no one as he believes the CIA betrayed his team on a dangerous mission five years ago in which he was the only survivor. In spite of his attraction to his partner, he prefers going alone as no one has his back. Still as he takes control of the Blackbird, Emma must overcome her instincts of also distrusting everyone if she is to learn what is going on; neither expected to fall in love or be back in the CIA's deadly outreach.

    Death Echo is an action-packed romantic suspense espionage thriller that remains at an incredibly high speed yet enables the audience to understand what motivates the powerful distrust in the two lead characters. That pairing of two classic misanthropic skeptics whose similar pasts come back full throttle makes for a taut St. Kilda thriller (see Blue Smoke and Murder, and The Wrong Hostage).

    Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    PRIME READING BY BETH McDONALD

    With a low, mature, assured voice Beth McDonald delivers a fine narration. She emphasizes our protagonist's strengths as well as her fears in what turns out to be an often treacherous journey even for one as stalwart as Emma Cross.

    A former CIA agent, and a mighty effective one, Emma had enough of hair breadth escapes. So, she joined St. Kilda's Consulting believing some private investigating would be a piece of cake. Readers of the mega best selling Elizabeth Lowell know that's never going to happen.

    We find Emma gripping "the round chromed bars of the pitching Zodiac's radar bridge..." Zodiac is a small rubber craft tossing its way across Puget Sound as she tracks Blackbird, a yacht which is a twin of another ship that disappeared. Whatever Blackbird's cargo may be it is lethal, and Emma has all of one week, seven days, to find out exactly what it is or there will be unprecedented mass destruction.

    She's paired with Mac Durand who once led a special ops team in Afghanistan only to see it lost thanks to bad intelligence. That was a lifetime ago and now Mac captains boats. Only one mention of his "dark eyes" by Emma and we know they'll be more than assigned partners....and often. Romance aside others are watching Blackbird - among them is Taras Demidov who notes the difference between Russians and Americans by thinking "Russia accepted a world of good and evil. Americans believed only in good." Demidov is evil incarnate, and his belief might be his undoing.

    As is her wont Lowell's plot moves swiftly but for this listener it is sometimes hindered by a cast of characters that is hard to keep straight - just who is a friend and who is an enemy? We hear, "Too many agencies. Too many secrets. Too little real cooperation, because budgets depend on delivering departmental success stories." It would seem if the threat is ultra dangerous that the FBI would cooperate with the CIA and vice versa.

    Nonetheless DEATH ECHO is as fresh as today's news with its focus on transnational crime - a world without borders. There's a wealth of description re living aboard and crossing dangerous waters in a 42 foot boat plus ultimately a satisfying finish. Lowell fans will relish this journey.

    - Gail Cooke

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Cotton Candy

    For all of the effort that went into this novel, there isn't much left in your hands at the end. A red herring takes up most of the novel, and in between there is some of the lamest sexual dialogue ever written. Definitely a beach read at best.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Bridget's Review

    Emma used to work with the CIA but she recently accepted a job at St. Kilda, a consulting firm. While looking into the disappearance of a yacht, Blackbird, that is going to be used in an attack against American's. She teams up with Mac, who used to be a special ops soldier. Little do they know, they are being watched by someone who wants Blackbird so bad, he is willing to go after it at any cost. This man, Taras, is about to make Emma and Mac remember what it's like to be targeted by someone with an endless amount of resources. Will they recover Blackbird and stay alive or will a piece of America feel the wrath?

    This wasn't one of my favorite books but it is entertaining. I liked the plot and the writing, I just couldn't seem to connect with the characters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 10, 2013

    I had read some nice reviews of Elizabeth Lowell's books, and ex

    I had read some nice reviews of Elizabeth Lowell's books, and expected a lot more when I picked this one up.

    The plot was confusing, and there was far too much time spent describing the waters northwest of Seattle and boat handling. The dialog was odd, and it seemed that the author was trying to put a romance inside of a thriller, and not doing either thing well.

    I'll give her another try - maybe one of her earlier books since reviews of this one indicate that she has some loyal, albeit disappointed, readers - but there are a lot of books I want to read and I won't waste my time finishing another one like this.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 31, 2012

    Excellent author -- St. Kilda series is great

    Very good story; love the St. Kilda Series.

    Book in excellent condition; just as described.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2011

    Don't bother

    flat,cartoonish characters operating in hormone overdrive and a ridiculous plot. This was first book of Lowell's I've read and it will be the last.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2011

    incomplete!!!!!

    I really enjoy Elizabeth Lowell's books. This is why I'm so disappointed in this download of Death Echo. The story was not finished. I tried to get info from B&N, but was unsuccessful. I really prefer to be able to get the books on MP3 Cd's for that reason. What a waste of money!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    AS TIMELY AS TODAY WITH A FOCUS ON TRANSNATIONAL CRIME

    A former CIA agent, and a mighty effective one, Emma Cross had enough of hair breadth escapes. So, she joined St. Kilda's Consulting believing some private investigating would be a piece of cake. Readers of the mega best selling Elizabeth Lowell know that's never going to happen.

    We find Emma gripping "the round chromed bars of the pitching Zodiac's radar bridge..." Zodiac is a small rubber craft tossing its way across Puget Sound as she tracks Blackbird, a yacht which is a twin of another ship that disappeared. Whatever Blackbird's cargo may be it is lethal, and Emma has all of one week, seven days, to find out exactly what it is or there will be unprecedented mass destruction.

    She's paired with Mac Durand who once led a special ops team in Afghanistan only to see it lost thanks to bad intelligence. That was a lifetime ago and now Mac captains boats. Only one mention of his "dark eyes" by Emma and we know they'll be more than assigned partners....and often. Romance aside others are watching Blackbird - among them is Taras Demidov who notes the difference between Russians and Americans by thinking "Russia accepted a world of good and evil. Americans believed only in good." Demidov is evil incarnate, and his belief might be his undoing.

    As is her wont Lowell's plot moves swiftly but for this reader it is sometimes hindered by a cast of characters that is hard to keep straight - just who is a friend and who is an enemy? We read, "Too many agencies. Too many secrets. Too little real cooperation, because budgets depend on delivering departmental success stories." It would seem if the threat is ultra dangerous that the FBI would cooperate with the CIA and vice versa.

    Nonetheless DEATH ECHO is as fresh as today's news with its focus on transnational crime - a world without borders. There's a wealth of description re living aboard and crossing dangerous waters in a 42 foot boat plus ultimately a satisfying finish. Lowell fans will relish this journey.

    - Gail Cooke

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Death Echo is a must read for Summer, Fall, Winter or Spring

    Imagine yourself ex-CIA trying to live a simple life and forget about "the company". Imagine yourself ex-CIA working for a civilian organization that seems to exist on ex company operatives. Imagine these two ex-company employees tangled in a web made by "the company" and now they have to not only clean it up, but survive doing it.
    Ms. Lowell brings us another one of her beloved St. Kilda's contracting novels, full of espionage, intrigue, stealth and deception and you have the perfect plot for her newest novel, a plot as old as cold war stories and as new as the last edition of CNN Live. In it we meet two incredible characters that are her hero MacKenzie and her heroine Emma who will ensnare you with their poise and ensconce you into their life of lies. You will immediately feel their attraction to each other and quickly turn pages to learn the outcome, not only of the romance but if they live to discover it. Her co-staring characters are equally interesting from the enigmatic couple we met in an earlier work Grace and Faroe to the current company men and the deeply unnerving criminals. The romance is fast, furious and sizzling as the couple doesn't know what waits for them tomorrow or even if tomorrow waits for them. The love scenes are hot, sensuous and physical and nothing less than you'd expect of the characters. Yet underneath the sizzle you feel a certain yearning between them, a hope for the future.

    You will not be disappointed with Elizabeth Lowell's latest romantic suspense read. It will be well worth the money, a must read for the summer and a next best seller for this New York Times best selling author.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Another St. Kilda Consulting romantic thriller

    Elizabeth Lowell has written several semi-series in the romance genre. My personal favorites involve either Rarities (a company that protects art) or St. Kilda Consulting (a mysterious company that operates where the CIA or FBI dare not go - and particularly deal with dicey kidnapping).

    Lowell's style is a bit over-the-top, but that's to be expected in this area. She clearly does good research (in this case, about yachting), and has a clear view of where she wants the plot to go.

    This is one of the stronger St. Kilda Consulting thrillers. The two main characters are well fleshed-out (intentional pun), and display humor. Of course, the dark characters are very dark, the good guys are good. Lowell doesn't spend as much time re-hashing a recurring theme - that most people are too content to let things happen and don't take action - which is a relief.

    If you like Lowell's writing or are looking for an "R" rated romantic thriller, this might be up your alley.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted June 9, 2010

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