Evil Without a Face (Sweet Justice Series #1)

Evil Without a Face (Sweet Justice Series #1)

3.6 19
by Jordan Dane
     
 

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Haunted and obsessed . . .

She sleeps with a Colt Python in her nightstand and her senses on alert—Jessica Beckett isn't taking any chances. Hiding a chilling secret, living in a world of snitches and felons, good cops and bad dreams, Jessica is a bounty hunter who brings lowlifes to justice. But not even she can imagine what she'll face when she tracks

Overview

Haunted and obsessed . . .

She sleeps with a Colt Python in her nightstand and her senses on alert—Jessica Beckett isn't taking any chances. Hiding a chilling secret, living in a world of snitches and felons, good cops and bad dreams, Jessica is a bounty hunter who brings lowlifes to justice. But not even she can imagine what she'll face when she tracks an online predator who has abducted a naïve teenage girl.

Making promises that can't be kept

Former NFL quarterback Payton Archer swore to his sister that he'd find her only child. But the police have no leads, and the teen's trail has turned cold. Plagued by personal demons, Payton's never considered himself a hero, but this time he has to be.

And fighting a faceless enemy

Joining forces to save the seventeen-year-old girl, Payton and Jessica discover that she's nothing but a pawn in an insidious, terrifying global conspiracy. They're battling a new kind of criminal . . . and soon their race for answers will become a dangerous struggle for survival.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This intense thriller establishes Dane (No One Lives Forever) as a diva of the flawed, baggage-laden but likable heroine. Putting romance on the back burner and the business of catching bad guys first, hard-boiled Chicago bounty hunter Jessica Beckett pursues a personal vendetta against child abuser Lucas Baker. When Baker turns up dead and is linked to a multinational human trafficking organization, Globe Harvest, the cops tag Jess as a possible suspect, but she's already off on another chase, looking for a teen who may have been a Globe Harvest victim. The search takes Jess from Chicago to Alaska, puts her in personal peril that evokes flashbacks to her nightmarish youth and surrounds her with a dazzlingly imaginative supporting cast of characters. Dane pulls out all the stops en route to the dramatic, rose-tinted finale. (Feb.)

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Mariah Stewart
“Jordan Dane’s EVIL WITHOUT A FACE is one WOW! of a book. Non-stop action, hold-your-breath suspense, terrific characters who made it all real - what more could you ask? I can not wait to have the next Jordan Dane in my hot little hands.”
Carla Neggers
“Jordan Dane is a gifted storyteller whose talent shines on every page of EVIL WITHOUT A FACE.EVIL WITHOUT A FACE is intense, nonstop romantic suspense. Impossible to put down!”
Heather Graham
“Jordan Dane has crafted a debut novel with thrills and chills that blend beautifully with human pathos and emotions. A wonderful new author who sets you up on a roller-coaster, rising, falling, twisting—she’s not to be missed!”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061984334
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/06/2009
Series:
Sweet Justice Series , #1
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
79,336
File size:
847 KB

Read an Excerpt

Evil Without a Face

Chapter One

Talkeetna, Alaska

Mid-June

Seventeen-year old Nikki Archer knelt on the floor inside her dark closet, rolling another T-shirt to stuff into a canvas duffel bag, her hands shaking. She'd drawn the thick drapes of her bedroom to block the enduring daylight common this time of year and chose to work by a meager light. The darkened space gave her the illusion of privacy and the solitude she desperately needed. Still, she strained to listen for the familiar creak outside her bedroom door, an early warning signal she had unwanted company.

The closet door stood open a narrow crack. She needed the light, but in case her mom came looking for her, the partially closed door would give her time to react and hide what she was doing. She worked until she couldn't take the shakes anymore. The dim light from a distant lamp on her nightstand seeped in to find her. Its pale glow cast a steady luminous ribbon across her arms.

The reality of her intentions had closed in, seizing Nikki with a rush of guilt, and she stopped and clutched the handle of the duffel to steady her trembling fingers. But it wasn't enough. Perspiration beaded on her forehead and upper lip. Feeling light-headed, she found a corner at the back of her closet and cowered deep into its shadows. In the cramped space, her heartbeat echoed and her breathing filled her ears, muffling everything except the nagging doubts that had surfaced again. Part of her wanted to stay put, burrowed into her clothes and mementos with the faint scent of her favorite perfume in the air. But she had made up her mind more than a week ago, and the final details would beworked out tonight.

This time she had a plan. She had somewhere to be. And she knew her mother would never understand.

Her computer sounded a ping. With the noise, her heart leapt. She knew who it would be. She shoved out of the corner and rose to her feet. After doing her best to hide the duffel, she slowly headed for her computer, closing the closet door behind her. Her eyes fixed on the monitor across the room. When she got close enough, she recognized the Instant Messenger name on the screen.

SnowMaiden

Her friend, Ivana Noskova from Chicago, was of Russian decent and loved the bittersweet tale of the Snow Maiden. In the story Ivana told her, the fifteen-year-old maiden in the popular Russian fable was the daughter of Spring Beauty and Grandfather Frost. As the maiden grew, she yearned for the companionship of humans in a nearby village, particularly a young shepherd boy, but her heart was incapable of affection. Her mother eventually took pity on her and gave her the ability to love. But as soon as she did, the maiden's heart warmed and she melted. Love and her yearning for something more had destroyed her.A sad story, but in her own house, Nikki knew this never would've happened. Her mom and pity were complete strangers. Yet she could identify with the maiden's wish for more than she had.

SnowMaiden: U there?

Until she moved the cursor, the chat box blinked its bluish light into the murky room and onto her sweater as she sat at her desk. Nikki knew the conversation they'd have next would set wheels in motion. She took a deep breath, but before she answered, her eyes found a framed photo next to her monitor, shoved to the back of her desktop. She reached for it and wiped a thin layer of dust from the glass with her fingers.

A remembrance of her thirteenth birthday, the day she officially became a teenager.

On a bright perfect day, she grinned and squinted in front of The Moose Nugget. The sun had made a rare appearance, making her feel even more special. Her mother had an arm around her shoulders, and Uncle Payton held up two fingers behind her head with his signature goofy smirk on his face. He always made her smile. Even now. Even with everything as it was.

Her family. All she had left, anyway.

But her grin faded when she touched the glass, running a finger down the face of her mother. They started fighting for real that year, and it hadn't let up since. Her mom instigated most of their yelling matches with her ridiculous and smothering rules. Nikki clenched her jaw, the rage still fresh from their last argument. A friend had given her a belly ring that she proudly displayed once too often. With small-town gossip, word had gotten back home and the great debate over body piercing began.

Nikki slammed the photo facedown. Her mom would believe this all had something to do with the ongoing friction between them. True, it started there, but now she had her own reasons for leaving. She grabbed the mouse and positioned the cursor to answer her friend, then pulled the keyboard closer.

Her Instant Messenger name didn't have much of a story behind it, nothing as interesting as her Chicago friend, SnowMaiden. Nikki had picked a name during the winter months when the sun was a rare commodity in Alaska. Now the IM handle stuck year-round, more in keeping with her mood.

DarkdazeGirl: bak...411?

She typed the code they used..."Back at keyboard. You have the information?" If everything went as planned, she'd probably feel like changing her IM handle real soon. But only if her cyber friend SnowMaiden played her part without a hitch.

Providenija, Russia

The old man sat in his small apartment, hunched at a kitchen table, half listening to the loud argument of a couple down the hall and the grating rumble of a truck outside his window. He'd almost learned to block out such annoyance when he worked. Absentmindedly, he scratched through the gray stubble of his chin, trying to peel the last crusty layer of a scab near his lip. The pungent smell of sardines and onions, remnants of his dinner, mixed with the overshadowing odor of cigarettes. He took another drag of his smoke and jammed the butt into an overloaded ashtray, his fingernails yellowed with nicotine stains. Ashes spilled onto the table, but he didn't bother to brush them aside.

Evil Without a Face. Copyright © by Jordan Dane. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are saying about this

Carla Neggers
“Jordan Dane is a gifted storyteller whose talent shines on every page of EVIL WITHOUT A FACE.EVIL WITHOUT A FACE is intense, nonstop romantic suspense. Impossible to put down!”
Mariah Stewart
“Jordan Dane’s EVIL WITHOUT A FACE is one WOW! of a book. Non-stop action, hold-your-breath suspense, terrific characters who made it all real - what more could you ask? I can not wait to have the next Jordan Dane in my hot little hands.”
Heather Graham
“Jordan Dane has crafted a debut novel with thrills and chills that blend beautifully with human pathos and emotions. A wonderful new author who sets you up on a roller-coaster, rising, falling, twisting—she’s not to be missed!”

Meet the Author

Ripped from the headlines, Jordan Dane's gritty suspense plots weave a tapestry of vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. A thrilling ride of mystery and suspense–all in the first degree! She's a member of Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the International Thriller Writers. Jordan and her husband share their Oklahoma residence with an intelligent canine and two cats of highborn lineage.

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Evil Without a Face 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
thought i'd found another good character series, but was very disappointed. won't go on to #2. too much technical and not enough story. character development not so good . . .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read. Several characters you end up rooting for. Suspenseful throughout the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic!
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MsTiptress More than 1 year ago
This was a action packed, real entertaining story. The hunt was thrilling and chilling all at the same time. Jordan took me through the raw streets of "bad people". Without giving up any spoilers these bad people deserved way more then what they got, but that is what made her story so real. Nothing about this was fake or too much.. I really enjoyed it.
mahikahn More than 1 year ago
Jessica Beckett is a bounty hunter investigating a child kidnapping ring. Payton Archer is an ex pro football player whose niece is kidnapped. OK, so the male and female leads didn't even meet under 2/3 of the way through the book and I saw no attraction. I expected him to get together with Sam who he spent a lot more time with. And by the way, the start of the relationship between Sam and Jessica was not clearly explained nor was what happened to Jessica as a child. The characters weren't fleshed out at all. I've read a lot of Jordan Dane's books and she's a very good writer. I have the other two books in the trilogy so hopefully they will be better.
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grumpydan More than 1 year ago
Jordan Dane has written a fast- paced thriller with EVIL WITHOUT A FACE. The action and suspense keeps on going right to the end. Jessica Bennett is a tough, driven bounty hunter. Payton Archer, the ex-football player is the uncle to his sister's daughter, Nikki, who is kidnapped by a ruthless human trafficking syndicate called Global Harvest. Payton and Jessica work together in their attempt to stop the bad guys and save Nikki. Ms. Dane has created characters you love and hate, and in situations that are both dangerous and electrifying, you just don't want to put this book down. And I didn't. I enjoyed Ms. Dane's first three books, and wanted to read this one which is not part of that series, but she still comes through.
cat162103 More than 1 year ago
I had the worst time putting this book down! It was such a good read! I loved the plot and action involved in this book. It was also such a treat to have so many different landscapes involved and I can't wait for Jordan Dane's next book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I might have really enjoyed this book had I not read the first review. Thanks for giving to much info. away and ruining it. :( All in all a good book.
harstan More than 1 year ago
The only gun Chicago bounty hunter Jessica Beckett handles and sleeps with is her Colt Python. Men mean nothing to her except as skippers to bring to justice. Males are all lowlifes, but the name Lucas Baker is one that brings out the passion in the usually deadly stoic Jessica; she is after this child abuser hoping for the opportunity to see him die horribly.

However her dream ends when she learns Baker was murdered. Jessica finds out the malevolent malefactor was intimately involved with the international human trafficking group, Globe Harvest. The CPD detectives make Jess a prime suspect, but now she is on the hunt for a missing teenage girl whom she fears Globe Harvest has abducted. Former NFL quarterback Payton Archer swore to his sister he would find his seventeen year old kidnapped niece Nikki Archer. To do that he must persuade the female lone wolf to let him team with her.

This exhilarating romantic suspense thriller takes readers to Alaska and occasionally Russia on a non stop action-packed tour. Payton is a terrific character as he is used to manning the lead role of calling the shots, but instead this time must protect the quarterback in order to bring his niece to safety. Jess makes the tale fresh with her female hard-ass attitude that at all times insists on sacking the enemy (including all males), which enables her to keep men from blitzing her heart. Readers will appreciate EVIL WITHOUT A FACE as the quarterback and the bounty hunter know the rescue comes first followed by capturing the malevolent villains and at the rear their attraction to one another.

Harriet Klasuner