No One to Trust

( 46 )


The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Final Target, Iris Johansen raises the stakes and the heart rate with this relentless new thriller that follows the harrowing trail of a ruthless killer on the hunt—and the woman who is determined to hunt him down.

He is the most terrifying of killers: ruthless, cunning, charismatic. And he has the means to get whatever he wants. And what Rico Chavez wants most is Elena Kyler—and he wants her dead. Trained as an assassin, Elena didn’t ...

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The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Final Target, Iris Johansen raises the stakes and the heart rate with this relentless new thriller that follows the harrowing trail of a ruthless killer on the hunt—and the woman who is determined to hunt him down.

He is the most terrifying of killers: ruthless, cunning, charismatic. And he has the means to get whatever he wants. And what Rico Chavez wants most is Elena Kyler—and he wants her dead. Trained as an assassin, Elena didn’t need anyone to survive. But now she finds herself on the run from one dangerous man and turning for help to another.

Sean Galen was a man without illusions. He knew it was only desperation that caused Elena to accept his help—a mother’s desperation to save her young son from a psychopath father who would raise their son in his own chilling image. And yet he was determined to get this woman who had never been able to trust anyone or anything in her whole life to accept him as her ally. But both Galen and Elena know that Chavez’s power and wealth mean there is no place they can be safe and no one they can trust—not even each other. Already Chavez’s assassins and connections to those in the highest positions of power have turned this into a war with no rules.

With two shocking acts of brutal violence, Chavez shows he will stop at nothing and that nothing will stop him. Soon a trail of horrifying murders will follow Galen and Elena across country to a last stand and a shattering showdown. For Chavez is a master of control and he wants more than just to take Elena’s life. He wants her alive long enough to see him destroy every reason she has for living. He wants her to turn against everything and everyone she ever believed in. He wants her to commit the ultimate act of betrayal. And by the time he is through, he wants her to beg him to take the only thing she’ll have left to give: her life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"No One to Trust is vintage, fan-pleasing Johansen."—-Booklist
Publishers Weekly
Think Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 and a jaded James Bond, and you've got the principals down pat for crowd-pleaser Johansen's (Body of Lies) latest romantic suspenser. Elena Kyler was born in Colombia and raised by her rebel fighter father, formerly an American mercenary. After her father dies and her rebel comrades sell out to druglord Rico Chavez, Elena, now in her mid-20s, concocts a desperate plan to save herself and her five-year-old son Barry from Chavez, who also happens to be Barry's father. She contacts the DEA, who call in the Bondian Sean Galen, a debonair maverick. The plan is to bring Elena and Barry to the U.S., then capture Chavez when he comes for his son. After a daring air-lift escape, Sean, Elena and Barry make it to California, but an ambush by Chavez's men leaves them running for their lives. Unaccustomed to relying on the kindness of strangers, Elena finds herself forced to lean on Sean as the two zigzag across the U.S., falling in love along the way. In the current climate, the threat of drug cartels feels dated and Chavez is such an over-the-top nasty that he's downright silly. Add to that a melodramatic anti-heroine, who's also a clich d assassin-with-a-heart-of-gold seeking spiritual redemption, and a Southeastern climax that's as '80s as Miami Vice, and the sum total becomes a derivative stew. Johansen has delivered better in the past and hopefully will again in the future. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
One assassin is after another in this latest from the author of Final Target. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553584370
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/26/2003
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 301
  • Sales rank: 299,319
  • Product dimensions: 4.23 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Iris Johansen

ris Johansen is the New York Times bestselling author of Killer Dreams, On the Run, Countdown, Firestorm, Fatal Tide, Dead Aim, No One to Trust and more. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia.


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

Chapter 1

Belim Prison
Belim, Colombia

A cockroach was crawling up her arm.

Elena Kyler shuddered as she brushed it off. God, how she hated cockroaches. This cell was teeming with them, but at least they weren’t as bad as the rats.

Close it out. Life was not this cell. Go away from here. Think of something beautiful. Father Dominic had always told her that was the only way to endure the unbearable. But this situation was not truly unbearable. The unbearable would be to give in and let that bastard win. So she wouldn’t think of anything beautiful. She didn’t want to bring anything she valued into this filthy cell.

She drew the blanket closer around her. So cold. It was warm during the day, but as soon as the sun set it became chilly. The cell was damper than the huts they’d kept her in on the way here, and the blanket she’d been issued was thin and worn. She hadn’t slept all night.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

There might be more opportunity here. These guards seemed more complacent and they didn’t know her. Just get ready. The time would come.

She threw aside the blanket and started doing the warm-up that preceded her routine. She’d exercised four hours every day since they’d captured her and she was even stronger now. Without weapons, she had to be. She’d eaten every scrap of the meager rations they’d given her to maintain that strength and spent the rest of her waking time planning her escape.

She’d be ready.

San Francisco

“Is he here?” Ben Forbes demanded as soon as he entered John Logan’s office. “Did you get hold of Galen?”

“He’s here. Or rather he’ll be here in a few minutes.” Logan leaned back in the leather executive chair. “But he told me to warn you that he has no intention of taking the job. He said he’s had enough of all that bull happening in Colombia.”

“Haven’t we all,” Forbes said wearily. “But it goes on and someone has to do something about it.”

“Tell that to Galen. He lost two men on the last extraction job he did down there. He doesn’t like losing men. And he doesn’t like working with the DEA either. He wouldn’t even be coming to this meeting if you guys didn’t go way back.”

“Not as long as the two of you,” countered Forbes. “Can’t you use your influence?”

Logan shook his head. “Galen goes his own way, and you don’t stay his friend by trying to change his mind.”

No one knew better than Forbes that Sean Galen walked to the beat of a different drummer. He had been everything from a mercenary to a smuggler, with a multitude of other shadowy careers in between. But, different or not, he was unquestionably the best at what he did. “I need him, Logan.”

“He got paid over a million dollars for the extraction of that executive he did for Folger’s coffee. Can you match that?”

“Nah,” Galen said, appearing at the doorway. “Not unless he’s suddenly gone on the take. And that’s not likely.” He strolled into the room. “How are you doing, Ben?”

“I’ve been better.” He shook Galen’s hand. “But things could look up for me if you’d cooperate.”

“I just came off a tough job. I’m on vacation.” He sat down in the visitor’s chair. “Logan and I are going deep-sea fishing.”

“You’ll be bored,” Forbes said. “I have something more interesting for you.”

“I could use a little boredom right now.” Galen grinned. “And my mum always said I didn’t play well with others. Particularly the feds. They always want to run the show.”

“Shall I leave?” Logan asked.

“Why should we run you out of your own office?” Galen asked. “This won’t take long.”

Logan leaned back in his chair. “Okay. Pretend I’m not here.”

That would be difficult to do, Forbes thought. John Logan was a powerhouse and not the least bit self-effacing. But then, that’s what it took to reach his position in the business world. It was strange looking at Galen and Logan together. They were as different as stone and quicksilver, and yet the closeness between them was almost visible. Forbes had heard the rumors about Logan’s involvement in some of Galen’s extremely dubious enterprises before Logan became a successful tycoon. Those experiences had clearly forged a bond with Galen that had stood the test of time. Could he use it? “Feel free to jump in, John. I know you contribute heavily to that drug rehab center in Los Angeles.”

Logan shook his head. “You’re on your own.”

Forbes sighed and turned back to Galen. “You wouldn’t have to worry about dealing with the U.S. government. No DEA intervention.”

Galen’s brows raised. “You’re DEA.”

“I’m working on my own on this one.”

“Uncle Sam won’t like that.”

“Tough. It’s part of the deal. It’s the first chance I’ve had to get Chavez in the last ten years.”

Galen’s expression didn’t change, but Forbes could hear a new tone in his voice. “Chavez?”

“Rico Chavez. The Chavez cartel. I believe you’ve had some experience with him.”

“Two years ago.”

“That’s when you lost your two men, isn’t it? You were trying to free William Katz, that coffee exec, from the band of rebels who were holding him for ransom, but Chavez turned loose his men to help them. You weren’t expecting him to do that.”

“Usually it’s the rebels protecting the drug lords down there. So you’re going after Chavez?”

“I’ve been after Chavez for years. I almost got him a few times. This go-round I may have a chance, if you’ll help.”

Galen’s gaze narrowed. “You want me to kill him?”

“No, I want him here in the States, where we can prosecute him. I not only want him, I want to know who’s doing his distributing in this country.”

“Chavez won’t come to the U.S. He’ll stay where he’s safe.”

“Unless he has a good reason to come here.”

Galen shook his head. “You’re out of luck.”

“Maybe not. I got a call two months ago from a woman named Elena Kyler. She said she was with a band of rebels in southern Colombia and wanted me to help her get out and give her protection once she’s in the U.S. She said she was in possession of evidence that Chavez would find compelling enough to draw him out of Colombia.”

“What evidence?”

“She wouldn’t tell me. She asked me to meet her at a house outside a small village near Tomaco and we’d discuss it.”

“Trap. Chavez wants to take your scalp, Ben.”

“I’m not stupid. I checked with my informants among the rebels and there is an Elena Kyler. Her father was Frank Kyler, an American mercenary who went to Bogotá over thirty years ago. He married Maria Lopez, a left-wing freedom fighter with the Colombian National Liberation group. They had two children, Elena and Luis. Maria was murdered by government soldiers four years after Elena was born. Evidently, Elena and her brother were raised by their father, who was killed seven years ago. Both Elena and Luis were members of a rebel group in the hills.” He paused. “The hills surrounding Chavez’s coca fields. So there is a connection.”

“You’re reaching for straws.”

“I’ll find out when I see her. She wants me to meet her and be ready. It’s all she asked. It’s worth a shot.”

“It’s not worth being shot.”

He smiled bitterly. “Maybe it is. If we take Chavez out, it will dry up one of the largest suppliers in Colombia. That could save a hell of a lot of kids. You don’t like drug dealers any more than I do, Galen.”

“But I’m more of a realist than you. This would be a finger in the dam. It’s a losing battle.”

“Not this time.” He paused. “I’ve got a hunch. . . . I believe her.”

“Good. Then go get her yourself.”

“It may not be that easy. One of my informants told me that she was on the run from Chavez, that she’s disappeared.” He hesitated. “The word is that she’s been captured and is being held in a prison in Belim.”

“A prison?”

“It’s a government jail, but Chavez bribes the warden to house his special prisoners.”

“Then she’ll be of no use to you. If she has any evidence, Chavez will have her tortured until she gives it up.”

“Chavez is at an important meeting with the Delgado family in Mexico City. She may have a reprieve for a while. I’ve heard he likes to do his own dirty work.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 46 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 46 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2015

    No One To Trust

    Thrills and action all thru the events,.

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

    Posted February 21, 2014

    Gotta read this one!

    As usual, Ms. Johansen has written an absorbing, interesting story that will be read over and over!

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  • Posted June 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Walk Away

    I enjoy reading Ms. Johansen but No One to Trust left me wanting...

    a. To toss it out... fast!
    B. To SCREAM!!!
    C. To say,"What the... hay!"
    D. To make sure Iris did in fact write this book???
    E. To use it as tissue to wipe the tears of hysteria from forcing myself to read just one more page.
    F. To lQQk for the VISINE®.
    G.To run naked through the countryside to detoxify my system.

    No One to Trust lacked significance. For me, there was no nitty-gritty. Elena Kyler did nothing to make me care about her life or her situation. Bor~ing!

    I continued reading hoping it would get better. It didn't.

    I just wasted good reading time on babble. I found myself wanting to do other things instead of reading Ms. Johansen's novel. I thought it was more fun to pour honey on myself & sit under a bee's nest.

    Reading is all about perception, so many may enjoy this bunk book, but I enjoyed my time w/ the bees. Buzz~Buzz!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2006

    My First and the best so Far!!!

    This is my first book i have read of iris johansen and she is incredible i mean amazing...this woman knows just the right books to catch your attention. this was my first and favorite book so far all because theres always something and i love the romance she had added to this novel! And i coudlnt get over on how sad it was that i had finished this book. i really want to read more about this facsinating women, Elena Kyler who is a very brave strong women!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2004


    what a great book this is of course a page turner from the first page till the end this was a very exciting book one of the greatest iris johansen books i have read i would have to say.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2004

    Lacks substance and Story

    The first Johansen book that completely left me puzzled as to how a good writer can come up up with an abysmal book that lacked substance and a story(and I've read most of her stuff). The book has no depth at all from start to finish.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2004

    Thrilling yet romantic

    Elena Kyler intrigued me with her tough additude and her love for her son. I also enjoyed the romance. This was my first Iris Johansen book but I am definately going to read more. Iris Johansen knows how to grab her readers!!! I highly recommend No One to Trust.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2003

    No One To Trust

    I started this book, late in the afternoon and was finished early next day, It was totally amazing all the running, hiding and all the suspense, I would recommend this and all of Iris Johansens

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2003

    Another one of her best novels!

    I was thrilled to know that Iris is still writing away. I have read all of her novels and have been pleased with every one. This one especially, because she brings back Sean Galen. I love that character. I got a better understanding of this character by reading this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2003

    No One To Trust

    I started this book and I seriously couldn't stop reading until I was done, it was so good. So much suspence, running, hiding and adventure.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2003

    Not bad

    good book, but i've read better. Galen is a excellent character and I would like to see him in more books, but then he did get married. I hope Johansen didn't write him off completely.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2003

    Twists And Turns

    'No One to Trust' is a moving story. It has many things that will keep you going from the begginging to the end. Uses the right amount of mystery and romance at the same time. I reconmend this book to anyone who has read Iris Johanson's books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2003

    This was awful

    I have read all of this authors books and was happy to find one I hadn't read, but this was the worst! I felt like I was reading something a high school student wrote! It had no substance, no plot and the characters were very weak. I had to force myself to finish it. I don't recommend this to anyone!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2003

    A solid read

    Fans of Ms. Johansen will not be disappointed in No One To Trust. The quick pace for this novel is right on track with several of her previous novels, especially the series that led up to this engaging story. It has been long overdue this novel about Galen it was nice to finally get some backround material on our ever so elusive jack of all trades master of all. Unfortunatly the story line was somewhat predictable but still enjoyable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2003

    Judd - I knew it!

    I couldn't put it down! I knew Judd would do what he did - but I still liked him. I'm so into Johansen's writing now, that I just went out and pick up 'reap the wind' to read next. Thanks for the adventure!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2003

    No One to Trust

    I oved this book! This is the 1st Johansen book i have read but it will not bw my last! I loved everything about it: the dialouge, the plot, everything! I have started my second Johansen novel, Final Target, and cant wait to read another!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2003

    No One to Trust

    This is my first book by Iris Johansen and it definetly wont be my last! I loved it! The dialouge, the plot line, everything. I have already started my seconed Johansen book (Final Target) and i cant wait to finish it so I can start another!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2003

    Go back, it's a trap!

    Sappy dialogue, weak characterization, poor imagery, feeble plot development; how this got published is beyond me. As a big mystery and action adventure fan, I wanted to like this book, I really did, but the author wasn't able to sell it. The characters were stumbling around on a stage filled with cardboard scenery, uttering soap opera lines that sounded like they were being read from cue cards. The characters' emotions were all over the map, running hot and cold within the same paragraph, with no regard to the situation, or what we, as readers, had been lead to believe about the character. They were totally unbelievable. If this were a movie, I'd say that all the characters were honor graduates from 'The William Shatner School of Over-Acting', with apologies to Mr. Shatner. And the plot? Well, it was just plain sad. To keep things moving, unsupported plot devices were being tossed around like there had been a sale on them at the local Wall-Mart. This was my first Iris Johansen novel, and you can bet it will be my last. Run, don't walk away from this one. It's a waste of time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2003


    I was on edge of my seat. The plot was wonderful. I hate to read, but I would by more of her books anytime.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2003

    I disagree

    I thought this was one of her worst books yet and I'm an big fan. I felt as if I were being read to instead of actually reading the book. You didn't get a chance to warm up to the main character, Elena, because just when she was acting human and you were looking forward to seeing it unfold, 4 or more weeks go by. You're almost cheated out of the whole transition phase. Also, the storyline focused to much on her and Galen, you also get cheated out on how the other characters she introduces are handling the situation themselves. The child Barry was used as a prop in two ways, one by the character of his father and another by the writer. She only puts him in to fill a gap when we all know that children are in our lives 24/7.

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