Final Target [NOOK Book]


The President’s daughter...
The women determined to save her...
The man with the power to betray a nation...

Melissa Riley arrives at her sister’s isolated Virginia country home to find herself plunged into a deadly drama. There the renowned Dr. Jessica Riley is attempting to draw the daughter of the President of the United States out of a severe catatonic trauma. The last ...
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Final Target

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The President’s daughter...
The women determined to save her...
The man with the power to betray a nation...

Melissa Riley arrives at her sister’s isolated Virginia country home to find herself plunged into a deadly drama. There the renowned Dr. Jessica Riley is attempting to draw the daughter of the President of the United States out of a severe catatonic trauma. The last thing young Cassie Andreas saw was an organized team ruthlessly murder her nanny and the Secret Service agents sworn to protect her. But to free Cassie, Melissa and Jessica must trust a mysterious, charismatic man.

Michael Travis made his fortune in the international underworld. He risked everything to save Cassie during that terrible night of bloodshed. And he has entered into a secret bargain with the President. But is his show of concern all a treacherous charade? Melissa and Jessica have no choice but to accept Travis as their ally—and to follow a dangerous plan that will lead them into the world of a killer who’ll destroy anyone standing between him and the...Final Target.

From the Paperback edition.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Passion, power, and political intrigue clash with deadly results in Iris Johansen's latest tale of romantic suspense, Final Target. At the heart of this fast-paced thriller is the seven-year-old daughter of the president of the United States, who has witnessed something so awful it's left her in a catatonic state. Now, the woman who hopes to save her must trust her heart and her life to a mysterious man with a nefarious reputation.

When masked intruders break into a presidential stronghold and try to kidnap the president's daughter, Cassie, the child witnesses several brutal murders. She survives, thanks to the efforts of Michael Travis, a man who skirts the law and makes a living in the international underworld, but the shock leaves her dwelling in a state somewhere between consciousness and death. The president puts his daughter in the hands of Dr. Jessica Riley, who helped her younger sister, Melissa, recover from a similar condition a few years earlier. Though fully recovered, Melissa's bout with catatonia left her with a curious side effect: the ability to merge her mind with the consciousness of others who are catatonic.

As Cassie's condition worsens, her only hope lies with two people: Melissa, who can get into Cassie's mind, and Travis, whose presence has a calming affect on the child's life-threatening seizures. But there's a problem: Travis has a host of deadly assassins breathing down his neck and isn't inclined to stay, yet his conscience won't let him desert the child, either. So he takes Cassie, Jessica, and Melissa with him, sneaking them out of the country and into Europe, where he becomes embroiled in a deadly game of international intrigue. With the president's forces now breathing down his neck in the belief that he has kidnapped Cassie, and his attentions increasingly drawn toward Melissa, whom he has come to care for, Travis becomes distracted enough to make a deadly miscalculation. The tragedy that results will have a monumental effect on everyone involved and may mean the end of any hopes they hold for the future.

Johansen is a master at keeping her readers on edge, and Final Target is a perfect example of this master at work. The pace zips, the plot twists, and each turn of the page brings a new surprise. But the best part of Johansen's latest effort is her characteristically explosive mix of chilling terror and heated passions. (Beth Amos)

Beth Amos is the author of several novels, including Second Sight, Eyes of Night, and Cold White Fury.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
At the center of Johansen's latest suspense thriller (after The Search) is the Wind Dancer, a priceless gold statue of the winged horse Pegasus. The statue has been in the Andreas family since the fall of Troy and now, centuries later, U.S. President Jonathan Andreas is in Paris to lend the family heirloom to a museum. On the night of the ceremony, his daughter, seven-year-old Cassie, is awakened at the family's farmhouse in the south of France by masked men who murder her nanny and her nurse, intent on kidnapping Cassie and ransoming her in exchange for the Wind Dancer. Cassie is saved in the nick of time by the arrival of Michael Travis, international underworld information dealer, but eight months later, the child is being treated in the Virginia home of psychiatrist Dr. Jessica Riley and Jessica's psychically extrasensitive sister, Melissa, for severe catatonic trauma. She hasn't spoken a word since the raid and has retreated into an imaginary tunnel where the Wind Dancer rescues her from pursuing monsters. Michael Travis then reappears and lures Cassie and the Riley sisters into a web of intrigue, taking them to Amsterdam, Paris and eventually back to the scene of the crime. There's a lot going on here, what with the telepathic dream sequences, a demented art fanatic determined to steal the statue, a subplot involving the Russian diamond cartel and the romantic tension between Melissa and Travis. Johansen's fans will enjoy the swirling plot lines, staccato dialogue and abrupt scene shifts that mark her style. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307418067
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/18/2007
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 45,726
  • File size: 452 KB

Meet the Author

Iris Johansen
Iris Johansen, who has more than eight million copies of her books in print, has won many awards for her achievements in writing. The bestselling author of The Killing Game, The Face of Deception, And Then You Die, Long After Midnight, and The Ugly Duckling, she lives near Atlanta, Georgia, where she is currently at work on a new novel.

From the Hardcover edition.


After her two children left home for college, Iris Johansen decided to devote her new found free time to writing. Since she loved reading romance novels, she penned a love story, and found to her surprise that "I was just as voracious a writer as I was a reader." During the 1980s, her name was emblazoned on dozens of slender volumes featuring spirited adventuresses, passionate mystery men, and smoldering love scenes. These days, Johansen is one of a posse of former romance writers dominating the New York Times bestseller lists.

Early on in her career, Johansen developed the habit of following characters from book to book, sometimes introducing minor characters in one novel who then become major figures in another. She developed families, relationships, and even fictional countries in her romance novels, which "stretched the boundaries of the standard formulas," according to Barbara E. Kemp in Twentieth-Century Romance and Historical Writers. In 1991, Johansen broke out of category romance (a term for short books written to conform to the length, style and subject matter guidelines for a publisher's series) with The Wind Dancer, a romantic-suspense novel set in 16th-century Italy. She followed it with two sequels, Storm Winds and Reap the Wind, to form a trilogy, then wrote several more stand-alone romance novels before The Ugly Duckling was published in 1996.

The Ugly Duckling was her first book to be released in hardcover -- and the first to significantly broaden her readership beyond her romance fan base. Since then, Johansen's plots have gotten tighter and more suspense-driven; critics have praised her "flesh-and-blood characters, crackling dialogue and lean, suspenseful plotting" (Publishers Weekly). Some of her most popular books feature forensic sculptor Eve Duncan, who first appeared in The Face of Deception in 1998. But Johansen seems equally comfortable with male protagonists, and her books have crossed the gender division that often characterizes popular fiction. Indeed, Publishers Weekly called The Search "that rarity: a woman's novel for men."

Good To Know

Johansen rewrote the ending of Reap the Wind for its reissue in 2002. "I couldn't resist tightening and changing the climax to correspond with my changed ideas on plot structure but the story is basically the same," she explained in a Q&A on her publisher's web site.

Many of her early novels were written for the Loveswept series from Bantam Books; bestselling authors Sandra Brown and Kay Hooper also wrote for the series.

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Read an Excerpt



Cambridge, Massachusetts

"I'm sorry to have to throw this at you during finals, Melissa." Karen Novak's voice was hesitant. "If there was any other way . . ."

"You want me to move out." It was no surprise. Melissa had known the decision was coming.

"Just until you have this problem under control. We've scouted out an efficiency for you about a block from here. You can move in right away."

Melissa turned to her other roommate. "Wendy?"

Wendy Sendle nodded miserably. "We think you'd be better off in an apartment by yourself."

"And you certainly would be better off without me." She held up a hand as Wendy opened her mouth to protest and said gently, "It's okay. I understand. I'm not blaming you. I'll pack up and be out by tonight."

"You don't have to be in a hurry. Tomorrow would be—" Wendy broke off as Karen gave her a pointed glance. "We'll be glad to help you pack."

Melissa had known they wouldn't want to risk another night with her. "Thank you." She tried to smile. "Now, stop looking so guilty. We've been friends for years. This isn't going to change anything."

"I hope not," Karen said. "You know we love you. We took it as long as we could, Melissa."

"I know. You've been very tolerant." She should have moved out weeks ago, but she'd felt safe here. "I'll just go into the bathroom and pack my toiletries."

"Melissa, have you ever thought of going back to Juniper?" Wendy moistened her lips. "Maybe your sister can help you."

"I'll think about it. Right now Jessica's pretty busy with a new job."

"You're very close. If she knew, I think she'd put her project on hold."

"It's hard to put off. Don't worry, I'll be fine." She closed the bathroom door behind her and leaned against it, her heart pounding. Calm down. So she'd be alone tonight. Maybe it wouldn't happen. Maybe it would go away.

But it hadn't gone away in the last few weeks. It had started hazy and far away, barely discernible in the swirling darkness. But lately it kept coming closer. She knew she'd be able to see it clearly soon.

Oh, God, don't let her see it.

Juniper, Virginia

"Cassie's had another nightmare," Teresa Delgado said as she stood in the doorway of Jessica's bedroom. "A bad one."

"They're all bad." Jessica Riley rubbed her eyes before she sat up and reached for her robe. "You didn't leave her alone?"

"There are other people around here who know their jobs besides you. Rachel's with her." She made a face. "But Cassie might as well be alone. She's curled up in a ball with her face to the wall. I tried to comfort her, but, as usual, Cassie's acting as if she can't hear me. As deaf as a fence post."

"She's not deaf." Jessica passed her and started down the hall. "She's aware of everything around her. She's just rejecting it all. The only time she's vulnerable and lets anything in is when she's sleeping."

"Then maybe you should treat her when she's sleeping. Try hypnotism or something," Teresa said. "You're sure not doing very well when she's awake."

"Give me a break. I've had her for only a month. We're just beginning to know each other," Jessica said. But Teresa was right, there had been no obvious progress. The child had been caught in a prison of silence since the incident at Vasaro eight months before. Surely there should have been some breakthrough by now, she thought, then tried to dismiss her doubts. She was just tired. Jesus, a child lost in a catatonic state for eight months was nothing compared to other children she'd treated. But acceptance was difficult when her patient was a seven-year-old child who should be running and playing and living life to the fullest. "And it's better if she makes the first steps back herself. I don't want to force her."

"You're the doctor," Teresa said. "But if a lowly nurse can offer some advice, I'd—"

"Lowly?" Jessica smiled. "Where did that come from? You've been telling me what I should do since my first year of residency."

"You needed it. I'd been around for over thirty years by then and I had to set you straight. You were one of those hotshot doctors who never knew when to stop. You still don't. You could let us deal with the kid for one night and get eight hours' sleep."

"She's got to know I'm here for her." She shrugged. "And I wouldn't have been able to sleep much longer anyway. Her father's coming to see her. He said he'd be here by three a.m."

Teresa gave a low whistle. "The great man is paying us a visit?"

"No, Cassie's father is coming to see his daughter." Many people considered Jonathan Andreas one of the most popular presidents the United States had ever had, but Jessica didn't think of him in those terms. From the first time she had met him a month ago, she saw him only as a father who was terribly worried about his child. "And you should know that. You've seen him with her. He's just a man with a giant problem."

"So you put your life on hold and let him use your family home for a treatment center for his daughter. The damn place is an armed camp. You can't even take a walk without being shadowed by some Secret Service man."

"It was my idea. The President wanted her hidden from the media, and this place has a certain amount of privacy and is easy to secure. Cassie has to be protected. Look what happened at Vasaro."

"What if the same thing happens here?"

"It won't. The President assured me that the security is infallible."

"And you trust him?"

"Sure." Andreas inspired trust. "And besides, he loves his daughter. He's racked by guilt over Vasaro. He'd never risk another tragedy."

"You're very generous. I've noticed he's been pretty cool to you."

"That's okay. I've an idea he's sick and tired of dealing with psychiatrists. Besides, a family usually feels some resentment when they have to turn over their child to a stranger. We'll work it out." She nodded at Larry Fike, the Secret Service agent stationed outside Cassie's door. "Hi, Larry. Did they tell you the President is paying us a visit?"

He nodded. "Poor guy, not a good night."

"No." Though there were few good nights for Cassie Andreas. "But he has to come when he can get away without suspicion. We don't want reporters descending on us."

"Yep, then we'd all be having nightmares." He opened the door for her. "The little girl was screaming pretty badly. If it hadn't happened before, I'd have burst in there with gun drawn. I'll give you notice when the President reaches the gates."

"Thanks, Larry."

"Do you need me?" Teresa asked.

She shook her head. "Go make some coffee for the President. He may need it." She nodded to the nurse sitting in the easy chair. "Thank you, Rachel. Anything I should know?"

"What you see is what you get." The young woman rose to her feet. "She hasn't moved a hair since Teresa left the room." She smiled at Cassie. "See you later, baby."

Jessica sat down and leaned back in the chair. She didn't speak for a moment, letting Cassie become accustomed to her presence. The child's color was good, but her face was pinched. Making sure she ate enough was already difficult; if she deteriorated even more, she would have to be fed intravenously. What a sad contrast this Cassie was to the pictures Jessica had seen of her before Vasaro. She'd been the darling of the White House with her long, shiny brown hair and luminous smile. Full of vitality and mischief. America's poster child . . .

When are you going to learn? she told herself. Don't get all choked up. Her esteemed colleagues never passed up a chance to tell her that a doctor's emotion never healed a patient.

Screw them. If you didn't let it blind and hog-tie you, love could do a hell of a lot.

"Pretty scary dream? Would you like to tell me about it?"

No answer. She hadn't expected one, but she always gave Cassie the opportunity. Someday a miracle could happen and Cassie might be tempted to come out of the darkness and answer one of her questions. "Was it about Vasaro?"

No answer.

It was probably about Vasaro. Terror, death, and betrayal were the stuff of nightmares. But what element was the primary catalyst that had driven her away? The nurse she had loved and trusted and who had been prepared to hand her over to killers? The murder of the Secret Service guard and the nurse? It could be a combination of causes. "Your daddy is coming to visit you soon. Would you like me to brush your hair?"

No answer.

"It doesn't matter. You look very pretty anyway. If you don't mind, I'll sit here until your daddy comes and we'll talk a little." She smiled. "Well, I'll talk. You seem to have given it up for a while. That's okay. You'll catch up when you decide to come back. My sister, Mellie, is a real chatterbox these days, and she was as closed as a clam for six years. I hope you won't see fit to stay away that long. Mellie's much happier now." Were Cassie's locked muscles relaxing a little? "This is Mellie's room you're in right now. She loves yellow and I had to talk her out of lemon and ease her into wheat-colored wallpaper. The brighter the better for Mellie. But it's a cheerful room, isn't it?"

No answer, but Jessica hoped that wherever she was, Cassie was listening. "Mellie's at Harvard now, studying to be a doctor like me. I miss her very much." She paused. "Like your mom and dad miss you. Mellie calls me every week and we talk and that helps. I bet your daddy would really like you to talk to him tonight."

No answer.

"But he'll love to be with you whether you talk to him or not. He loves you. Do you remember how he used to play with you? Yes, I know you do. You remember everything, the bad and the good. And the bad doesn't hurt you where you are, does it? But it does hurt you when you go to sleep. If you'd come back to us, the dreams will stop, Cassie. It will take a little time, but they'll go away."

She could sense that Cassie was beginning to tense again.

"No one's going to make you come back until you want to do it. Someday you'll be ready and I'll be here to help you." She added softly, "I know the way, Cassie. Mellie and I traveled the same road. I wonder where you are. When Mellie came back, she said it was like being in a deep, dark forest with a canopy of trees overhead. But some other children who have gone away say they went to a nice cozy cave. Is that where you are?"

No response.

"Oh, well, you'll tell me when you come back. I'm a little tired, do you mind if I just rest a little until your daddy gets here?" Dear God, she was weary of questions. Answer me just once, sweetheart. She closed her eyes. "If you want to sleep, go ahead. I'm here. I'll wake you if the bad dreams come."


Gleaming emerald eyes, teeth bared to tear into him!

Edward bolted upright in bed, his heart pounding. He was drenched with sweat.

Only a dream.

How ridiculous to become so upset that he was actually dreaming about the statue. It had to be the humiliation he had experienced at Vasaro.

Not his fault. The plan had been perfect. If it hadn't been for Michael Travis, he would have had the child. How had the son of a bitch known about the raid? There had to have been a leak. He would find it and then he would find Michael Travis and blow the bastard's brains out.

Wide awake now, he decided to go to the room. Just the thought of it was bringing him peace.

He got up and made his way downstairs. The intricately carved door gleamed richly in the soft light. And once inside the room he would be able to relegate the small failure at Vasaro to the back of his mind, where it belonged. There was no question that he would persevere and get what he wanted soon.

Including the death of Michael Travis.


"Where the hell is Michael Travis?" Andreas demanded when Ben Danley got into the limousine. "It's been eight months. How long does it take the CIA to find one man?"

"We're close." Danley sank down in the seat across from Andreas. "We've trailed him to Amsterdam. You don't understand, Mr. President. He's been mixing with the criminal underground since he was born. His father was a thief and a smuggler and he was brought up all over Europe and Asia. He has contacts that—"

"So you've told me." And Andreas didn't want to hear it again. He wanted Travis and no excuses.

"I'm only trying to explain that he moves in circles that leave few tracks. We expect to locate him within two days." He paused. "You haven't told us what to do when we do find him, sir."

Andreas turned to look at him.

"Do you wish him to have . . . an accident, Mr. President?"

Andreas smiled sardonically. "Why, Danley, you know the CIA no longer does sanctions. You've cleaned up your image."

"I didn't say we'd do it," Danley said. "I merely asked if that was your wish."

"Very cagey."

"It's a natural question. If Travis is the man behind Vasaro, I can see why—"

"Travis wasn't behind it. I don't want him hurt," Andreas interrupted. "And you don't know jack about what happened at Vasaro."

"Your pardon, sir, but naturally Keller at the Secret Service shared his files with us since the attempt on your life was made outside the U.S."

"It wasn't Travis."

"Then why have we spent eight months searching for him?"

"Because I told you to." He looked out the window at the darkness. "And I wanted you to have a damn good reason to find him. What did Keller tell you?"

"That there was an attempt on your life and the nurse and six men had been killed and three wounded. Fortunately, you and the First Lady had gone to Paris."

"Fortunately?" His tone was biting. "Do you realize that my daughter hasn't spoken a word since that night? And that my wife was on the verge of a nervous breakdown after six months of trying to cope with a child who looked at her as if she were a stranger?"

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 32 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 5, 2010

    Kind of disappointing

    The plot line seems very interesting, but I found the book full of very cheezy parts. The characters are very superficial and you really don't feel any sympathy or excitement.

    I just didn't get a feel or satisfaction from the book. And most parts annoyed me. Like, if a character has never gone to another country, how the heck are they going to move around and find a place so easily? Everything just seemed so easy, it felt boring and very cliche.

    I don't recommend it. To me it was a waste of time, but you be the judge.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2007

    Make a movie of this book

    Someone should make a movie about final target. It was the best on I've read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2005


    Couldn't put it down. I finished in a matter of hours. One of, if not, her best

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2003


    this was one of her best books ever!!!! it's IMPOSSIBLE to put down. excellent plot. it had a perfect mix of romance, thrill, and suspense. definitly recommend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2002


    it was great! All of her books that I've read have been great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2002

    Pretty Good

    This was a little hard for me to get into, but once I did , it sure was a good book. This is the first book that I read with the CD's for the book, very nice to read this way, exspecially if your driving, since you can't read when your driving you can listen to the story. Then read when you get home!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2002

    Another Outstanding Book!

    I could NOT put it down. Talk about a book that takes ahold and doesnt let go. The plot twists and turns make for an exiting read. Tho I think Galen needs his own book. He needs more action.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2001

    Sounded better than it was

    I picked this up in the new book section of the library, and the beginning was quite promising. However, I found the plot to be boring and the romance uninspired. I may try one or two other books by this author as perhaps this was an exception for her.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2001

    Good Book

    I thought the book was very good. Not quite up there with Ugly Duckling (my favorite Johansen novel), but a good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2001


    This was one of her best I have read. Her characters are so real and different, that you get caught up in them real quick. This was such a quick read I was not ready to put this down and alas the ending came too quick. I sure hope Ms. Johansen writes a sequel to this novel,there is still so much she could do with these characters. You will enjoy this book very much.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2001


    In Vasaro, France seven-year-old Cassie Andreas, the U.S. President¿s daughter, awakens to find a heinous massacre taking place in the family¿s farmhouse estate. Everyone, including her Secret Service bodyguards and her nanny (who ended up betraying her) has been killed. She begins a desperate search for a family heirloom called the Wind Dancer, which she feels will provide an emotional escape from the bloodshed around her. Just as she finds the statute, she is saved from certain death by a mysterious stranger named Michael Travis, and slips into catatonic trauma. We learn that Travis is an elusive underworld ¿information¿ broker and thief. President Jonathan Andreas is not sure if Travis is the hero he appears to be, or if he had another reason for being at the estate that evening. Andreas moves Cassie to the Virginia home of Dr. Jessica Riley, who helped her own sister Melissa come back from the same condition. Jessica doesn¿t seem to be getting anywhere with Cassie, but when Melissa returns to visit at the same time that Travis bargains his way back onto American soil, things begin to heat up tremendously. Although it appears that Melissa has a ¿special¿ connection with Cassie that Jessica cannot understand, it is Travis who holds the key to Cassie¿s recovery. He soon launches a deadly game of Russian roulette with the little girl¿s life, drawing them all into an international nightmare in which one of the main characters is brutally murdered, and the others are left to create the bait that will flush out a killer. FINAL TARGET starts with a bang and escalates from there. This is a solid chase that features restrained passions, coolly determined characters, and unspeakable danger. 4 Stars. This is a solid, entertaining read. The characters are very well developed and the dialogue is sharp. However, a little more information about catatonic trauma would have added more depth and believability to the plot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2001


    I was really dissappointed with Final Target. I found it contrived and silly depth at all! Certainly not up to par when compared to her previous books. Please bring back Eve Duncan! This book was like reading a fairy tale but poorly done. Joanne, I know you can do better..please lose this format!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2001

    Don't waste your time

    Normally I enjoy Iris Johansen, but this book was quite awful. A contrived, silly plot with lousy dialogue and characters I really cared nothing about. Seems like she was trying to recreate elements from The Ugly Duckling (which I loved), as well as some of her other, better books. Not very suspenseful, and the token romance was forced and uninteresting. Sorry to be so negative, but I was really disappointed.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Exciting romantic suspense

    In Vasaro, France, Michael Travis aborts an attempt to kidnap Cassie, the daughter of the American President. Many men die while her nanny, a traitor, tries to hand Cassie over to the terrorists. Cassie goes into a catatonic state. The President has many doctors try to bring Cassie back but they all fail. President Andreas is forced to turn to Dr. Jessica Riley for help. Jessica once succeeded in pulling her own sister Melissa out of the same condition even though it took years to accomplish that feat. <P>Travis knows Europe is too hot for him to remain there so he maneuvers the President into giving him a ride back to the States to guard Cassie. While watching over Cassie, a psychic bond forms between Travis and Cassie. When Travis returns to Europe, Jessica, Cassie, and Melissa accompany him. While there, Melissa obtains quite an education having to shoot someone and dodge the good and bad guys all the while falling in love with Travis. <P> Years ago, Iris Johansen wrote the ¿Wind Dancer¿ trilogy and that statue play a prominent role in this book. FINAL TARGET is a thrilling romantic suspense novel that will have fans of the author ecstatic and bring Ms. Johansen new readers. A secondary player deserves his own story be told especially with the nastiness that he goes through in this exciting tale. <P>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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