Fast Track (Sisterhood Series #10)

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Overview

It’s been years since the members of the Sisterhood first banded together, with the help of their mentor Charles Martin, to exact their own form of justice on those whose crimes had gone unpunished by the legal system. Now, back in the United States after an enforced exile, and ensconced in a new home on Big Pine Mountain in North Carolina, Myra, Kathryn, Annie, Alexis, Isabelle, Yoko, and Nikki are breathing easy at last – but not for long.

One dark night, under cover of a ...

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Overview

It’s been years since the members of the Sisterhood first banded together, with the help of their mentor Charles Martin, to exact their own form of justice on those whose crimes had gone unpunished by the legal system. Now, back in the United States after an enforced exile, and ensconced in a new home on Big Pine Mountain in North Carolina, Myra, Kathryn, Annie, Alexis, Isabelle, Yoko, and Nikki are breathing easy at last – but not for long.

One dark night, under cover of a vicious storm, a helicopter lands on their mountain. The Sisters aren’t about to wait to be ambushed. Braving the storm, they set out to greet their guests, only to be told by Charles that the mysterious visitors are the Sisterhood’s new employers, and they’ve got a dangerous new assignment in mind. The task they face is daunting. If they succeed, the Sisterhood will be rewarded beyond their wildest dreams. If they fail, they’ll forfeit much more than a paycheck. But if the Ladies of Pinewood have learned one thing over the course of their adventures, it’s that when friends band together, miracles can happen…

“Revenge is a dish best served with cloth napkins and floral centerpieces…fast-paced…puts poetic justice first.” – Publishers Weekly on Payback
“An unforgettable story.” – Rendezvous on Weekend Warriors

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781420101867
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 7/1/2008
  • Series: Sisterhood Series , #10
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 4.00 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

FERN MICHAELS is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of the Sisterhood series, Mr. and Miss Anonymous, Up Close and Personal, and dozens of other novels and novellas. There are over seventy million copies of her books in print. Fern Michaels has built and funded several large day-care centers in her hometown, and is apassionate animal lover who has outfitted police dogs across the country with special bulletproof vests. She shares her home in South Carolina with her four dogs and a resident ghost named Mary Margaret.

Biography

Born Mary Ruth Kuczkir in Hastings, Pennsylvania, Fern Michaels was married and the mother of five before she embarked on her long, successful writing career – a career that began with something midway between a challenge and a command. When her youngest child went off to kindergarten, Michaels's husband imperiously ordered her (in just so many words) to get off her ass and get a job. Long years in the domestic trenches had left her short on marketable skills, so she decided trade off her lifelong love of reading and write a book. Just like that. The domineering, unsupportive husband is history. And Michaels has gone on to pen bestselling romance after bestselling romance. Just like that..

With typical modesty, Michaels does not claim to be a great writer; however, she admits proudly to being a born storyteller. Her bulging bookshelf proves she is all over the map, producing with equal facility hot historicals, lighthearted contemporary capers, adrenaline-laced thrillers, and heartwarming tales of family and friendship. She is especially adept at writing stories about women who prevail in hard times – a reflection, perhaps, of her own struggles in her marriage and early career.

Raised to believe that the fortunate in life have an obligation to give back, Michaels devotes a lot of time to philanthropic concerns. She has established a foundation that grants four-year scholarships to needy students and has set up pre-schools and daycare centers for single mothers. She is also an avid animal lover and has been known to own as many as five dogs at a time.

In 1993, Michaels picked up stakes and moved from her home in New Jersey to a 300-year-old plantation house in Charleston, South Carolina. She and the dogs share the house amicably with a friendly ghost whom Fern has dubbed Mary Margaret. In addition to stopping clocks and moving pillows from room to room, Mary Margaret has been known to occasionally leave flowers on Michaels's nightstand!

Good To Know

Michaels confesses in our interview: "I'm a junk food junkie and a chocoholic. My desk drawers have more junk food in them than paper and pens. I chomp and chew all day long. At night I get up and eat Marshmallow Fluff right out of the jar. In between eating, I write."

Her first "sort of, kind of job" was in market research. Michaels recounts the gig's low-point in our interview: "I had a partner and we were testing a new pressurized drain cleaner. All you had to do was put this can in the drain, squeeze and supposedly the drain would open right up. It did, all right.

"The whole wall collapsed, and stuff that was in there for a hundred years flew everywhere. The lady didn't tell us the drain backed up to her kitchen drain and disposal. The company didn't care that we smelled like a sewer or that our clothes were ruined. The lady got a new bathroom, and we both got fired."

Michaels reveals some of her sources of inspiration: "Inspiration comes from everywhere. The title for Finders Keepers came from a cartoon with two chipmunks that my grandson was watching. I had a title but no story. I finally came up with one to fit that wonderful title.

"Names for characters sometime come from television. I had a character named Metaxis which is odd to begin with. There is a news anchor on T.V. who has that same last name. Sometimes it will just be a word someone says in passing, something I read or saw. There's no rhyme or reason to it. It's almost like, okay, I need something here, stay alert and it will happen."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Mary Kuczkir
    2. Hometown:
      Summerville, South Carolina
    1. Education:
      High School

Read an Excerpt

FAST TRACK
By FERN MICHAELS KENSINGTON BOOKS Copyright © 2008 Fern Michaels
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7582-2714-0


Chapter One Big Pine Mountain North Carolina

It was a fortresslike compound. A training ground. Of sorts. State-of-the-art. First-class accommodations. In the spook world of covert operations and espionage, it was beyond anything the CIA or the FBI could think of. The only facility that came remotely close was NORAD on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado and was maintained by the government of the United States. Thanks to the taxpayers of the good old US of A. In the interests of security, the only accesses to the site on Big Pine Mountain were by helicopter and cable car.

The women, also known as the vigilantes, clustered together in the dark, their eyes on the helicopter pad and the platform that housed the cable car that had gone missing an hour ago. Off in the distance they could hear the whump-whump of helicopter blades. Company was coming, and the women knew it wasn't a social visit. Then they heard the screeching sound of the cable car coming up the mountain. They jostled one another for a better look in the rain-filled, pitch-black darkness.

Isabelle Flanders craned her neck. "A perfect evening for late-night visitors of the clandestine kind. Who do you think they are?"

"Probably the kind of people Charles doesn't want us to see or meet before he sets things up. This is just a guess on my part, but I think they're our next employers," Nikki Quinn said.

"We could go outside instead of hiding indoors and see for ourselves. I for one like to know what's going on, especially if it involves me. Or us as a whole. Charles is big on need-to-know where we're concerned. I think I need to know," the ever-verbal Kathryn Lucas said.

Alexis Thorne weighed in, "It would be nice if just once we bested Sir Charles, now, wouldn't it? By one-upping him, I think we could take the visitors down with one eye closed and our hands tied behind our backs. A preemptive strike, so to speak. Or if you don't like that, we can strut our stuff to let them see who they're dealing with. Whatcha think, girls?"

Yoko Akia looked around. "Two of our posse are missing. Myra's in the main house, and I haven't seen Annie since around ten o'clock, when she said she was going to bed early. Don't we need to confer with them? Personally, I love the idea."

The women as one shrugged. Nikki took the high road, lawyer that she was, and said, "They're going to be really pissed if we act without them. I say we call them on their cell phones and tell them to meet up with us right here. But be quick, the helicopter is about to land. The cable car is almost here."

Kathryn was already speaking on her cell. She nodded to the others, meaning the two older women were on the way.

"What about Charles?" Alexis asked. "I'm sure he's going to be doing the meet and greet."

"I say we take him out first. It's the last thing he'll be expecting. If we're to believe our own PR, we're the best of the best. Let's prove it," Kathryn said.

The door to the women's quarters opened silently. The dogs, Murphy and Grady, growled softly but didn't move.

"It's raining," Annie de Silva said.

"We're taking Charles out first. You in or out?" Nikki asked coolly.

"In," Myra said in a shaky voice.

Annie's whoop of pleasure was her "in" vote.

"Then let's do it, ladies," Kathryn said.

The women held a quick whispered conversation, then moved out into the dark night, the dogs leading the way. The steady whump-whump of the helicopter was so close it was deafening. It also masked the sound of the cable car sliding into its nest on the platform's well-greased tracks.

The pungent scent of pine and the smell of the warm summer rain were aphrodisiacs on the women as they spread out and circled their quarry: one Sir Charles Martin. Murphy streaked forward to meet Charles head-on, while Grady barreled in from the side as Yoko, the rain beating down on her, kicked Charles from behind with one tiny foot and brought him to his knees. Alexis and Isabelle snapped on a set of flexi-cuffs, then yanked their host to his feet and dragged him to the bushes just as the cable car came to a stop. Nikki had pulled off one of her socks and stuffed it in Charles's mouth.

The wind from the rotors of the Bell JetRanger was so strong it almost knocked over Myra and Annie, who were fiercely holding on to each other. The rain slapping at them from the force of the winds felt like a tidal wave.

Two men and a woman stepped out from the helicopter. The woman foolishly tried to open an umbrella. It blew away in the wind. Kathryn yanked a small penlight out of her pocket and flashed it twice. There was no point in trying to speak or shout. The pinpoint of light moved off just as Nikki led two fine-looking gentlemen, dressed in Savile Row suits, out of the cable car and into the pouring rain.

Mercifully, the helicopter was shut down and put to bed. The high-pitched whine was silent. A bolt of thunder roared overhead as a vicious streak of lightning danced across the sky, lighting the mountaintop from one end to the other.

Their thumbs up in the air in a sign of victory, Yoko and Alexis led Charles toward the newly arrived guests.

As a group, they ran toward the main building, Charles and Myra's lair. The others called it the Big House. Inside the brightly lit kitchen, the women stared down at the delectable spread of food and drink laid out on the counters and on the table.

"Well done, girls," Charles beamed when the sock was taken out of his mouth and the flexi-cuffs removed. "Don't for one minute think you 'captured' me. I knew what you were going to do before you made the decision to take me on. In other words, I allowed it. I wanted your new employers to see you in action. Ladies, meet your new employers. Names at this juncture are not important. I don't expect they will be important later on, either. I'll show each of our guests to a room where they can change into dry clothes. I suggest you all do the same. Twenty minutes, ladies, not one minute longer. Are we clear on this?"

"Crystal," Kathryn said with a bite to her tone. "My ass, you allowed us to take you. You didn't know what hit you. I'm not going anywhere until you admit it, Sir Charles," she hissed.

Charles turned slightly so that he was in profile to his guests. He winked at Kathryn.

Nikki nudged Kathryn and whispered, "We'll make an issue of it later. We need to get changed. You know how pissy he gets when we're late."

"Ask me if I care," Kathryn said as she trailed behind the others, Murphy at her side.

Inside their own quarters, as they grappled with whatever they could find in the way of clean or dry clothes, the women kept up a running commentary concerning Charles and what had happened. In the end, a show of hands agreed that they had indeed caught Sir Charles flat-footed. And that he was trying to save face with his guests by his roguish wink. But they also agreed they could be wrong.

"A crapshoot," Annie said.

Adorned in yellow slickers with matching Wellington boots, the little group made it back to the Big House in the allotted time. They peeled off their rain gear before they trooped out to the kitchen where Charles was handing out drinks.

Charles's guests waited until the women were seated before they took their own seats for what their host referred to as a midnight feast: Lobster and shrimp and a foot-long cracked-pepper tenderloin. Emerald green peas from the garden behind the main house that were sugar balls of sweetness. Mountain tomatoes, lush and pulpy in the crisp garden salad. And finishing off the meal, tiny potatoes no bigger than a nickel drizzled with butter and fresh herbs. Everyone ate heartily including Charles.

The table conversation dealt with the different species of pine trees on the mountain, the virtually impossible access, satellite television, and the new iPhone, which was just hitting the market.

No one seemed to mind when Charles said he hadn't had time to prepare a dessert, and coffee and brandy would be served in the conference room down the hall.

Five minutes later, the members of the Sisterhood, in their casual clothes and slicked-back wet hair, sat down at the long pine table and looked at the five strangers sitting across from them.

Charles stood up and immediately got to the point. "Our guests this evening have come a very long way to talk with us, and this meeting must be kept absolutely secret. Our guests are a special task force appointed by the World Bank. Three of our guests are also board members. They want to hire you to help them out before a current situation gets out of hand and has worldwide repercussions. They came with a check in hand that bears only a signature. What that means is you can name your own price and fill in the blanks. This piece of paper is a mere token. If you accept this mission, the money will be wired into a special offshore account expeditiously. These monies will not come out of the World Bank funds. Concerned wealthy individuals have donated funds for this mission, people who care about fighting global poverty. People who wish to remain anonymous."

"What is it you want us to do?" Myra asked a gray-haired man sitting directly across from her. "Is it a single person or a group of people who pose a problem for you?"

The woman sitting next to him spoke in a soft, cultured accent. She looked around at her colleagues, who simply gave curt nods to indicate she should speak. "The current president of the World Bank appears to have his own agenda where funds are concerned. We've done a discreet audit, and a rather large sum of money appears to be missing. The funds in question, which were to go to several poor countries, were suspended, then a small amount was supposedly used to set up ragtag offices in other war-torn countries, without concern for security in those countries. That amount was a mere drop in the bucket, so to speak. We can't seem to find the balance of the money."

"How much money are you talking about?" Annie asked as she leaned closer to the table, her eyes locked with those of the woman who was speaking.

"Close to two billion dollars."

"Billion with a b?" Kathryn asked.

"I believe billion is spelled with a b. Yes," the woman said curtly.

"And you can't find two billion dollars?" Nikki asked, disbelief ringing in her voice. "Do you mind if I ask who minds the store?"

"Oh, we could find it if we want a world crisis on our hands. We prefer to let sleeping dogs lie and to exercise other ... options. I believe that's an expression Americans use to mean leave things as they are, is this not so?"

"If you're concerned about keeping this under wraps, aren't you concerned that the poor countries for whom those funds are earmarked might go public?" Alexis asked.

"Of course we're concerned. That's why we're here. The situation is contained for the moment. Time, however, is of the essence."

"How much time?" Nikki asked bluntly.

A stoop-shouldered man with a gray beard raised his head and spoke quietly. "No more than two weeks, and that's extending the time beyond what we're really comfortable with."

"Where does the current president reside?" Yoko asked.

"He owns an apartment in the Watergate. A very lavish apartment, I might add," a rotund little man with jet-black hair said. He had a heavy beard and glassy dark eyes. "He also has several mistresses. He's a divorced man whose ex-wife hates him. He has two children. They aren't particularly fond of him, either. He leads a very expensive life."

The woman spoke again with apparent distaste. "Maxwell Zenowicz held a very high post in your current government's administration prior to taking on the job of president at the World Bank, but he was not qualified for the job. He is an appointee. I believe it was a political favor that secured the job for him. He has surrounded himself with people with the same moral compass he has."

A tall, stately gentleman with chiseled features looked around the table and focused on Charles Martin. "We want him out. And the people surrounding him. We want no repercussions of any kind. Nothing must lead back to any of us or to any member of the World Bank. It goes without saying we want the funds returned as quickly as possible. We," the man said, motioning to his colleagues, "have it on good authority that the current president of the World Bank is a close personal friend of many people in the current administration, not just the president of the United States. We have been told that if anyone can do this, it's your little band of women."

"Little band of women!" Kathryn exploded. Her eyes narrowed as she looked around at the others to see how they were reacting to this sudden blasphemous statement.

Before things got out of hand, Charles hastened to step into what he knew could well turn into a battle royal. To his eye the volatile Kathryn looked like she was single-handedly going to wipe up the floor with the current speaker. The speaker looked like he was wondering how he would fare.

The man realized that his poor choice of words had created a situation. "I apologize, madam, but I do not know how to refer to you and the others. I only know what I have read in the papers and seen on television. My sincere apologies. Do you prefer the term 'vigilante'?"

"No harm, no foul," Kathryn said grudgingly. She wondered if the stiff talking to her knew what the phrase meant. She leaned back in her chair, her hand dropping to stroke Murphy's head. The bad moment was over.

With the preliminaries ended, Annie said, "It's time to talk turkey, ladies and gentlemen."

And they got down to business.

Chapter Two Breakfast on Big Pine Mountain was served in the main dining hall. When they first came, it had taken a while to get used to the walk because the women had to trek from their individual living quarters across the compound. They liked to complain about the rain and the snow and having to get dressed three times a day just to eat. These days they didn't think twice about sprinting outdoors as they raced one another to the dining room.

Living as fugitives on Big Pine Mountain had its pluses and minuses. The main plus was that they were back in the United States. The main minus was that they were still fugitives. Although they hadn't actually lived on the premises of Pinewood in Virginia, Myra's palatial estate, they had had access to all the amenities, and they hadn't been wanted fugitives. When the law caught up to them, and they moved to Barcelona, Spain, atop a mountain owned by Countess Anna de Silva, they'd lived as fugitive recluses unless their help was needed on special projects brought to them by Charles Martin.

Here, back in the States, as Isabelle had said, they were merely trading their lavish style of mountain living for a more rustic one. Or, as Yoko had put it, "We're on our home turf here."

The women seated themselves in the dining room. It was a pleasant room with a huge fieldstone fireplace that rose from the floor to the ceiling. Beautiful flowers from one of the many gardens were on all the tables. Greenery hung from the beams overhead. All the tables, chairs, and end tables were solid oak, all polished to a high sheen. The floors were also solid oak, buffed and polished so that you could see your reflection in the old wood. In the days of Kollar (Pappy) Havapopulas's reign on the mountain, this very dining room had hosted all the covert agents under his tutelage who came there for training. Nothing had been changed because, as Charles had put it, "We don't know how long we'll be in residence." The women were all right with that simple explanation because they knew nothing lasted forever.

They all had chores. Yoko saw to the plants and flowers, Alexis tended the vegetable gardens, Isabelle did kitchen duty, Kathryn maintained the pool, while Nikki helped Charles in what they called the command center. Myra and Annie supervised to make sure everything ran smoothly. Unlike their command centers back in Virginia and Spain, this particular computer center was Kollar's and occupied a separate room in the Big House. It worked for all of them.

Breakfast this morning was simple and hearty-bacon, eggs, ham, toast, fresh fruit, coffee, and juice. It was all set out in chafing dishes on a sideboard that ran the entire length of one wall. At each end of the sideboard were two glorious arrangements of yellow roses, thanks to Yoko. The smell was sweet and heady.

Myra, a stickler for the finer things in life, marveled that here on this mountain, the Havapopulas family, father and son, had exquisite crystal, china, and silver. There was no sign of a paper napkin or a plastic tablecloth. Everything was linen. Everything was as fine as her heirlooms back in Virginia. She did love a pretty table setting.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from FAST TRACK by FERN MICHAELS Copyright © 2008 by Fern Michaels. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 35 )
Rating Distribution

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(17)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 35 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    This series of the Sisterhood is amazing.

    I recommend it to everyone, it's a fast read. Keeps you on the edge from beginning to end. You don't want to put it down.
    The first book I read was #20, I didn't know it was a series, I've gone and purchased all the books in the series, I'm just about to start #11. Hope that Fern is adding to the series.

    Luckily, I have an IPAD with the Nook App, so I can read anywhere and when I finish one I gert to move on to the next.
    Get it and read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 1, 2012

    Love this Series!

    Another great book in this series - very entertaining. Good for relaxing light reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 22, 2008

    The Sisterhood Strikes Again!

    In this latest tale, the Sisterhood are recruited off-the-books, so to speak, by a group representing the World Food Bank. It seems its latest president, one Maxwell Zenowicz (who got his position through, of course, political pull), has absconded with two billion in WFB funds, and the organization would like it back. In exchange, the ladies of Pinewood would be handsomely rewarded, the money going to philanthopies of their choice, of course -- the Sisterhood has never been mercenary and isn't about to start now. Max, as he hates to be called, is your standard villain, except that he has elevated hypochondria to an art form (forty-two vitamins a day?). The interesting character here, as well as the main focus, is his mistress, ex-showgirl Rena Gold, who turns out to be the Sisterhood's best ally and the key to the success of their plan to retrieve the money. As usual, though, Ted Robinson, now nearly paranoid in his Sisterhood obsession, snoops around and ends up creating a city-wide panic involving some thirty-odd pet store rats and a rumor about plague at the British Embassy (you have to read the book to see how it fits into the story) that manages to be both funny and scary.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2014

    Good Arrival!

    The book arrived in excellent condition and my mother is enjoying reading this 10th book in the series!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2014

    Fantastic series

    Once I start reading, I don't want to put the book down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2013

    I Finally Got It

    After reading, with increasing dismay, this otherwise interesting series, I finally have realized that this author and I are poles apart. The series has been ruined for me by the obvious conservative bent and the Fox News plugs...pure propaganda. I am deleting these books from my library and will not be buying any more. Maybe, one day, if Fern Michaels can remove her nose from Rupert Murchoch's figurative anal orifice, she can write with more authority on the real strength of women.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2013

    Cocky

    This is a good escape read as all the Sisterhood stories but they are a bit cocky near the end They also brag too much about leaving another human being as a "vegetable"

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2012

    Another winner! The Sisterhood series is so entertaining; just

    Another winner! The Sisterhood series is so entertaining; just never get tired of reading them. Highly recommend.

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  • Posted May 17, 2011

    Z.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2010

    Sisterhood Books are Fantastic

    This book was fast paced and so exciting. I have read all of Fern Michaels Sistehood Books so far. The characters are well developed and you can always find something to love about all the different characters. This is the 10th Book in the Series. The characters have mellowed somewhat in this book. The first few books were a bit more exciting because the justice served was a bit more extreme.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    A Sisterhood book

    I have read all of Fern Michaels Sisterhood novels and this one was as good as the others. I have thoroughly enjoyed them all and am always waiting for the next one to come out. Sometimes they can be a little graphic as far as the punishments are concerned. But the people certainly deserved everything they got. I like the idea of this group of women stepping in to fix things that the legal system does not. These are a series of books but even if you have not read the others...you would still enjoy reading them by themselves.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    This tale is engaging

    After their return from luxurious exile in Barcelona (see HOKUS POKUS) the Sisterhood sets up their newest headquarters on Big Pine Mountain, North Carolina. The new digs for the vigilante team is more of a military compound with access by cable car or helicopter only. Soon afterward, their mentor Charles Martin introduces the magnificent seven to their new employers, who have flown in during a stormy night by helicopter for more than just welcome to the team greetings.------------------ The visitors give the Sisterhood seven a blank check from their own pockets to find two billion dollars targeted for poor countries apparently embezzled from the World Bank. They accept the assignment though each knows the danger, but besides trying to return the 2B loot so the needy can have it, the blank check for them to fill in the amount will also help those in need.---------------- This is a refreshing albeit over the top of Big Pine Mountain (duh ¿ it is the Sisterhood) thriller in which the magnificent Seven¿s significant others participate in active support roles to the modern day female Robin Hoods. The tale is engaging as the Seven and their cohorts show how a team working cohesively can achieve mission impossible.-------------- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2013

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    Posted January 28, 2012

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    Posted February 26, 2012

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    Posted June 12, 2011

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    Posted February 9, 2010

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    Posted May 27, 2014

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    Posted December 7, 2012

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    Posted July 31, 2014

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