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Posted September 3, 2011
This single-author anthology includes one longish tale that serves as a series prequel, and three short stories set solidly within Lindsay Downs's developed "universe" of characters (which began in Target Identified). **spoiler alert** The first two stories are heavy. In the first, Sergeant Emily Dahill is serving in the Middle East and is performing a last prisoner transfer prior to shipping home for retraining with the CID. But the Black Hawk chopper is shot down, everyone aboard is injured or killed, and the prisoner, a mysterious "brown-haired man" who isn't what he seems, escapes, nearly killing Emily in the process. After being released from hospital stateside, she finds her ongoing fear of chopper flying has been exacerbated, but one lick from a warm puppy tongue calms her. A new partnership is born. In the second story, Emily and her now adult "partner" Dakota are snowbound when a shadow moves in the night. Emily's non-GI standard issue footwear notwithstanding, they take down the brown-haired man. But with Downs, don't ever assume a story's ending. The second two stories are lighter. Emily and Dakota go camping with friends, with a practical joke and a fishing expedition ending the collection with some laughs. These are well written and edited stories, and the first two in particular assured me Downs hasn't lost that spine-tingling-tale touch. But I must admit to feeling a bit lost in the final stories. Downs clearly has taken to heart the old writer's adage of "never apologize, never explain," made famous in Larry Block's Telling Lies for Fun & Profit: A Manual for Fiction Writers, and I applaud the concept of burying the reader in the author's world. But a bit of explanation, letting me know who's who, would have increased my enjoyment, especially of the third story. That said, I love these stories. The characters are believable, three-dimensional, entertaining, and the sort of people I'd love to sit down with over coffee. Kebi from Target Identified puts in a brief appearance (still in full collie character) and Dakota, her pup, is just as delightful. (Peeing on a soldier's gun, that's hilarious.) I'm told Downs is reworking Target Identified before beginning a full-length novel for Emily. I'll be waiting for more from this talented author.
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Posted August 15, 2011
Posted August 11, 2012
Posted October 17, 2011
Emily Dahill is a strong female protagonist in this series of tales from Lindsay Downs. Introduced in the first story as a sergeant in Iraq, Emily shows her skill while training two newbies just before returning home. But her return is delayed and her confidence shaken in a helicopter crash. Pleasingly, as Emily embarks on a new army career as CID, she finds a partner who will help restore her strength.
Iraq's scares and the details of a soldier's care are described with the same convincing skill as a peaceful riverbank in this short collection. A Body in the Snow tells of a snowy meeting with Emily's fugitive nemesis. Then there's the sudden shock of Wrong Place, Wrong Day, when a gun is pointed into Emily's tent. Finally, Dog on Fishing reveals the delight of leave with friends. Emily's world includes generous family and friendships and a wonderful dog, pleasing humor and just the right touch of fear. The stories together might leave readers wondering what happened in between. But the series is off to an intriguing start-great characters to follow, a dog (what more could I ask?), a long-term foe and lots of long-term friends, plus the well-fulfilled promise of short-term action.
Disclosure: I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Posted November 8, 2011
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