Running Scared (Rarities Unlimited Series #2)

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Risa Sheridan knows everything there is to know about gold — its history, its secrets, its allure, its perils. Her boss, Shane Tannahill, is addicted to the stuff, having already made the precious metal the theme of his ultrasuccessful Las Vegas gambling establishment, the Golden Fleece. Now an ancient Celtic piece is being offered to Shane for his collection, and the casino owner is hooked. But though she shares Shane's enthusiasm, Risa is wary — because something about this particular artifact is troubling; ...
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Overview

Risa Sheridan knows everything there is to know about gold — its history, its secrets, its allure, its perils. Her boss, Shane Tannahill, is addicted to the stuff, having already made the precious metal the theme of his ultrasuccessful Las Vegas gambling establishment, the Golden Fleece. Now an ancient Celtic piece is being offered to Shane for his collection, and the casino owner is hooked. But though she shares Shane's enthusiasm, Risa is wary — because something about this particular artifact is troubling; something about it says "stay away."

It is a voice that should be heeded but is not. And the artifact is placing them at the center of an insidious plot in the mad whirl and blinding glitter of Las Vegas.

A remarkable novel of exhilarating thrills and passion, with unexpected twists and turns that will leave you breathless, Running Scared is another priceless example of why Elizabeth Lowell is the gold standard in contemporary suspense fiction.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Who would have thought there'd be a market for retro kitsch la Remington Steel, complete with two protagonists fighting their attraction for each other as well as dumber-than-doorpost crooks? Apparently, Lowell, whose long string of romantic suspense novels (Moving Target, etc.) have earned her a Romance Writers of America Lifetime Achievement Award. This latest involves antiques, druid gold and psychic powers and is set primarily in post-mob Las Vegas with side trips to Sedona, Ariz. Risa Sheridan is a consultant for Rarities Unlimited, hired by casino mogul Shane Tannahill to find something spectacular to display at a New Year's Eve opening bash for his new gallery. It looks like Risa's hit pay dirt when she comes across some gold druid pieces that a WWII vet purloined from Wales during the war. But there are complications. Risa's childhood friend Cherelle, a faux psychic who goes by the name of Lady Faulkner, had been scamming the vet and is now in pursuit of the gold, too. Then there are Shane's rival casino bosses, who are looking for something to frame him with so they can edge him out of the picture. Can they somehow use the discovery of druid loot to achieve that end? Lowell's research is thorough, but it's often presented awkwardly, with copious information on authenticating antique jewelry as well as slightly more interesting background on druidic lore. The narrative is formulaic from start to finish: will any reader not guess that after Shane warns her away for safety's sake, Risa still dangerously goes for the gold solo in the end? An all-talk wrap-up takes the edge off the action, but Lowell's readers will be more interested in the romance, anyway. 7-city author tour. (One-day laydown Apr. 30) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Curator Risa Sheridan knows old gold. Her boss, Shane Tanahill, owner of the Las Vegas casino the Golden Fleece, wants only the best for his Druid Gold show. When an old friend from Risa's unhappy past breezes into town loaded down with the stuff, people pop out of the woodwork, each wanting a piece of the action and willing to kill for it. This is the second Rarities, Inc. novel from Lowell so there is a familiar background cast to help keep the good guys in line. Carrington MacDuffie has a sweetness of voice that adds the right elements of romance to the plot without sacrificing the harder edge of the story. Though MacDuffie has a tendency to overemote and her Irish accent needs work, her smooth delivery makes for overall pleasant listening. For larger libraries and Lowell collections.-Jodi L. Israel, MLS, Jamaica Plain, MA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Ancient Celtic gold has everyone running in circles. Just one look at the priceless treasure is enough to send a shiver down the spine of Risa Sheridan, antiquities expert with the exclusive appraisal firm of Rarities Unlimited. She alone knows that the runes and symbols engraved on the artifacts and jewelry have the power to heal-or harm. What she doesn't know: their provenance. And, being dead, the owner can't tell her where he dug it up. Pvt. Virgil O'Connor stumbled across the treasure while wandering in a Druid grove in Wales during WWII. He smuggled it back to the States and later found that it brought him only bad luck and a lifetime case of the heebie-jeebies that nothing could cure-though Cherelle Faulkner certainly tried. She's Risa's childhood friend and fellow survivor of trailer-park foster homes, and she's been conning poor old Virgil for a while, pretending to be his spirit guide. Thus the gold falls into her hands after his death, though she has no idea of its antiquity or worth. But Las Vegas mogul and multimillionaire Shane Tannahill collects Celtic tchochkes and, boy, does he want these, hoping to feature the treasure in a blockbuster exhibition at the Golden Fleece, his Vegas entertainment complex, if Risa can just verify its authenticity. Enter assorted lowlifes and criminals, all with Damon Runyonesque names and personalities, who heist some of the treasure. The chase, natch, is on. Will Shane fall for Risa's enigmatic intelligence and merely physical charms? Should Risa give her heart to him or to Niall, the broodingly handsome owner of Rarities Unlimited? And will bad girl Cherelle do the right thing in the end? Fast-moving romantic suspenser that gets off to agood start, but the Keystone Kops-like complications are just plain silly. From the indefatigable author of similar tales of priceless art and improbable crooks (Moving Target, 2001, etc.).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060198763
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/1/2002
  • Series: Rarities Unlimited Series , #2
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Lowell

Elizabeth Lowell's exciting novels of romantic suspense include the New York Times bestsellers Dangerous Refuge, Beautiful Sacrifice, Death Echo, The Wrong Hostage, Amber Beach, Jade Island, Pearl Cove, and Midnight in Ruby Bayou. She has also written New York Times bestselling historical series set in the American West and medieval Britain. She has more than 80 titles published to date, with more than 24 million copies of her books in print. She lives in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with her husband, with whom she writes novels under a pseudonym. Her favorite activity is exploring the western United States to find the landscapes that speak to her soul and inspire her writing.

Las aclamadas novelas de suspenso de la autora Elizabeth Lowell incluyen varios bestsellers en la New York Times. Lowell ha vendido más de treinta millones de ejemplares. Vive con su esposo en Seattle, Washington y Sedona, Arizona, con quien escribe novelas de misterio bajo un seudónimo.

Biography

Extensive and versatile, Elizabeth Lowell's résumé of titles (in almost every genre) is as long as the list of her various pen names. She's written science fiction, mystery and romance. She's also penned historical fiction and collaborated on a movie novelization. So prolific is Lowell that she and her husband, Evan Maxwell, have had to create a whole raft of pseudonyms for her books.

Her earliest work, from the 1970s, is science fiction and is written under her actual name, Ann Maxwell. The romances she and her husband began writing together in the early '90s are under the same name, because their publisher wanted a female author’s name on the cover. Their Southern California mystery series featuring the divorced lovers Fiddler and Fiora are written under A. E. Maxwell (Ann and Evan), while their joint novelization of the 1992 Val Kilmer movie Thunderheart is under the name Lowell Charters (his middle name and her maiden name.)

Her biggest solo success, the romance novels that have taken her repeatedly to The New York Times bestseller list, are credited to Elizabeth Lowell -- a combination of the couple’s middle names.

Lowell’s romances are noted for their sass and, of course, their sex. But her characterizations, particularly, draw high marks. "Elizabeth Lowell's talent is enormous," wrote The Romance Reader in its review of 1984's Forget Me Not. "She has made a well-deserved name for herself by crafting likable, plucky heroines and enigmatic but intelligent heroes." And, in 1996 the Chicago Tribune wrote, "The protagonist she has chosen for her hardcover debut, Winter Fire could give a Navy SEAL lessons in survival."

Lowell embarked on a popular series in 1997 with the publication of Amber Beach, which introduced readers to the Donovan family, titans in the menacing world of precious gemstones who must dodge murderers, thieves, and power-hungry governments to protect their business. Of the first in the series, Kirkus Reviews wrote, "A romance that offers all the sexual tension, adventure and squishy clichés that fans of the genre could possibly want."

When Lowell was getting started as sci-fi writer Ann Maxwell, she was writing on legal pads while caring for her two young children. Evan was a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, covering international crime. In the early 1980s, after he had already collaborated on three mystery novels with Lowell, Maxwell decided to quit daily journalism and write fiction full-time.

The couple has since become a cottage industry of genre fiction operating out of their Seattle-area home. They collaborate on some projects, go solo on others. Lowell has described a seven-day-a week work packed with deadlines, an organized effort that starts out with book outlines that typically take about a month to draft as well as character sketches. Then the writing begins.

"My fiction deals with problems of strength rather than problems of weakness," she told Contemporary Authors. There is no appeal or purpose for me in reading -- or writing -- fiction that portrays incessant, excruciating, and pointless pain in the lives of characters."

Good To Know

Readers are surprised to find out that the books Lowell writes with her husband are true collaborations. "In fact, a lot of people, once they know, say, 'Oh, I know who did this in the book, and I know who did this,' and they're almost invariably wrong," she told the Los Angeles Times.

Two of the most intriguing time periods for Lowell are medieval England and the post-Civil War period in the American West. "In both cases it was a time of expanded possibilities for individuals, regardless of birth or heritage, to create a better life and, ultimately, a better world, from chaos," she told Contemporary Authors.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Ann Maxwell; A .E. Maxwell; Annalise Sun; Lowell Charters
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 5, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    1. Education:
      B. A., University of California, 1966

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One



Los Angeles
Friday, October 31
Morning

Even though Risa Sheridan was only an occasional consultant to the international firm of Rarities Unlimited, she didn't resent flying from Las Vegas to Los Angeles for a few hours of work. She never knew what treasures a client might have brought to the company's headquarters so that Rarities could "Buy, Sell, Appraise, Protect." All she could be certain of was that whatever she would be inspecting was at least four hundred years old -- and usually much older -- because ancient jewelry was her specialty.

Risa's feeling of anticipation flattened when she looked through the double glass doors that led to Rarities' offices; Shane Tannahill was already on the other side of the bulletproof glass. Despite the fact that she had left Las Vegas before he did, her boss had beaten her to Los Angeles.

Shane had one of his hands tucked into a pocket of his black slacks. The other hand anchored the soft leather jacket he had slung over one shoulder. A visitor's badge hung on a chain around his neck. Angular face impassive, jade green eyes narrowed, dark hair neatly trimmed, he lounged against the guard desk. Waiting for her.

He wasn't a patient man.

Bloody L.A. traffic, she said silently.

It wasn't her fault that her plane had been held on the ground in Vegas for a security check. Then in L.A. a semi truck hauling gasoline had turned over on Sepulveda, blocking the easiest exit from the airport and thoroughly screwing up the city's already overburdened surfacestreets.

And making her late.

Risa's pulse might have kicked with more than irritation when she spotted Shane, but her steps didn't hesitate or quicken. Nor did she check that her short black hair was smoothly in place and her unstructured blue jacket was hanging straight. Other women might have licked their lips for that extra shine or sucked in their belly or stuck out their chest to look their best for Shane Tannahill.

Not Risa.

She had fought to get where she was. She loved her job as curator of gold objects for the Golden Fleece, Shane's Las Vegas entertainment complex. She wasn't going to lose everything she had worked for simply because of his handsome face and killer grin. Better that she rub her boss the wrong way than the right.

Shane's work ethic was simple and inflexible: no lying, no cheating, no stealing, and no sex. He didn't touch the female employees. End of subject. But if a woman didn't want to accept that and he was interested in an affair, he would find her another job. Only then would a good time be had by all.

No matter how intelligent, appealing, rich, and maddening Shane might be, Risa wanted her job more than she wanted to do laps around the sex track with any man. Even one of the few who had ever really interested her.

It's the forbidden fruit thing, Risa told herself briskly. No man is that sexy after you wake up with him. Or without him, more likely.

The guard released the automatic locks for Risa. The door swung open.

She gave the uniformed man a bright smile. "Good morning, Jersey. How's the thumb?"

Jersey, who was about seven feet of muscle and bone, blushed. "Who told you?"

"Mmmm" was all she said. She didn't want Shane to know how often she and S.K. Niall chatted. Shane was friendly with the two heads of Rarities, but that friendship didn't slop over into business. Shane wouldn't be pleased knowing that his curator talked several times a week with Niall -- Rhymes with kneel, boyo. I'm not a bloody river. At the moment the Golden Fleece didn't have enough business with Rarities to justify such frequent communications. But Risa was lonely, and Niall was safely involved with Dana Gaynor, the other head of Rarities.

"I can't believe I slammed my thumb in the desk drawer," Jersey muttered.

"Yeah, Dana really ought to wear a warning bell when she walks around," Risa sympathized, fighting a smile.

Shane didn't bother to fight it. He flashed the kind of grin that made men and women alike blink and draw closer, as though to a fire.

Jersey's blush deepened.

"You'll get used to Dana's walk," Risa said. She tossed her purse on a moving belt like those at an airport checkpoint and strolled through the metal detector's field without setting off a single buzz. "All the men do. Eventually."

"Uh, yes'm." But Jersey was shaking his head while he watched the screen that displayed the contents of Risa's purse. Nothing but the usual. The metal alarm didn't quiver. The nitrate alarm didn't go off. Neither did any of the other chemical alarms. Not that he expected anything like that to happen -- not with a consultant. But he wasn't paid to make personal judgments. He was paid to put everyone who walked in those doors through the scanners, and that included Dana Gaynor and S.K. Niall.

Shane took Risa's purse as it popped out the other end of the scanner. He tossed it to her with a quickness that had caught more than one person off guard.

She snagged her purse with a deceptively lazy movement of her arm. He wasn't the only one with good reflexes. "Thanks." She turned to Jersey. "Anything else?"

"Just this." He handed her a staff pass dangling on a long neck chain. "New rules."

She put on the chain and the colorful bit of plastic that stated she was a consultant. "Since when?"

Shane answered before Jersey could. "Since someone threatened half of Rarities Unlimited."

"Dana was threatened?" Risa asked, startled.

"No. Niall."

"Whew," Risa said, blowing out a breath. Besides being a friend, Niall was half owner and head...

Running Scared. Copyright © by Elizabeth Lowell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

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Interviews & Essays

An Interview with Elizabeth Lowell
Bestselling author Elizabeth Lowell stirs up irresistible danger, intrigue, nail-biting suspense -- and, of course, romance -- in two fast-paced thrillers, Die in Plain Sight and Running Scared. In each, a treasured object from the past provokes a dangerous cycle of greed, fear, and desire.

Since both books feature the pursuit of beautiful and valuable objects, and the involvement of the exclusive firm of Rarities Unlimited, Heart to Heart took the opportunity to ask Elizabeth Lowell more about this exciting collection of books, how they got started, and where they are headed.

Heart to Heart: Die in Plain Sight and Running Scared are part of your Rarities cycle of books, which began with Moving Target. How did you get the idea for this series?

Elizabeth Lowell: I wanted to find a backdrop against which I could write several books. As I had just finished the fourth in the Donovan cycle, I was ready to write about something besides a big family. In my research into various beautiful and culturally valuable things, I came across businesses that either appraised, insured, guarded, or purchased some of the things that interested me. I thought, Why not create a company whose motto is "Buy, Sell, Appraise, Protect"? Rarities Unlimited was born in that moment. Then I had the fun of creating the people who would inhabit the world of Rarities, a world that was ripe for intrigue, danger, and suspense.

HtoH: Is this interest in antiques and collectibles a personal interest?

EL: Absolutely. I don't write books about things that bore me. Impressionist landscapes, such as those that appear in Die in Plain Sight, have always fascinated me. They have a freedom and energy that I love. That's why my husband and I collect Impressionist landscapes from living painters. (We certainly can't afford the dead ones!) Sometimes the objects I write about are rare. Sometimes they're beautiful. Sometimes, as in Running Scared, they are both. When I first saw Celtic gold objects, I was haunted by how much of the past we had lost. Then I started thinking about what people would do to own such beautiful, ancient things. After that, it wasn't long before I had a story about fear, greed, time, and murder.

HtoH: How do you research such diverse treasures as gold, California Impressionism, and rare manuscripts?

EL: Because I've always been interested in gems, artifacts, and civilizations, and I once lived in the southern California I write about in Die in Plain Sight, much of the research comes from a lifetime of reading and just plain being. I love learning new things, so once I select a specific object to be the center of a mystery, I buy books, read articles, go to museums, and search the Internet. You would be amazed at what is out there. If I need additional input, I go to experts such as C. M. Johns, to whom Running Scared is dedicated.

HtoH: Will there be more coming in the Rarities series?

EL: The book I'm working on now, The Color of Death, isn't a Rarities or Donovan book. My editor suggested that I take advantage of the creative freedom of a different backdrop, and I'm doing just that. The idea I'm playing with for the book after that doesn't share any of my previous backdrops, either. I don't know yet if the idea will gel. It's hard enough getting one book researched and written without looking two, three, or four books (and years) down the road.

HtoH: Breakneck suspense and unexpected plot turns are one of the trademarks of your books. How do you plot the pace?

EL: Short answer: I don't know. Long answer: I still don't know. Yes, I have a synopsis of sorts when I begin writing, but it's more of an overview than a true outline. I think of creating a book as finding and pushing a lot of boulders to the top of a steep hill; that's the work of setting up the characters and background facts that must go into the first 150 pages of the book. As soon as I've set that up, I give one of the boulders a big shove and run to the next one and the next and the next, until they are all bouncing and racing down the hill.

After that, it's a matter of chasing all the boulders and keeping them going until the last one stops rolling at the bottom of the hill and I write THE END. (Picture poor author panting and exhausted at the bottom of a hill, praying that no more boulders are left to chase or dodge!) Then I find a different hill, different boulders, and start the whole process all over again.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 17 of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2004

    A WELL PACED READING OF THIS MYSTERY

    Elizabeth Lowell fans know what to expect and they're not disappointed - it's an entertaining mix of suspense and romance in which good triumphs over every sort of evil machination and the gal gets a guy or vice versa. There's something comforting in knowing what you're in for when you open a book or listen to an audio version, and folks stand in line for Lowell. Experienced Broadway actress Maria Tucci gives a well paced reading, using the low registers of her voice for emphasis. She's a vet and it shows in this vocal performance. Set in Las Vegas and Arizona 'Running Scared' is a tale of gold, graft, and gumption. Risa Sheridan, is knowledgeable in the field of antiquities, more precisely gold. When casino owner Shane Tannahill is offered what he believes to be an ancient Celtic gold piece he can't wait to own it - perfect for showing off at an upcoming gallery event. However, Risa's not so sure about this gift from the Druids. She's even less sure as the body count mounts. Someone's out to destroy Shane and perhaps take out Risa with him. Lowell offers a mix of murder, thievery, and rivalry - everything to make a listener's heart beat faster. - Gail Cooke

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2014

    A warning to Violetscar

    I heard some cats may come to harm you. You should leave now. -Goldstreak the Lone Warrior

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2014

    Violetscar

    Thanks but ill take my chances.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2013

    Wooaaaaaaahh

    No one posted here since 2003! I didnt even think nooks EXISTED back then

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2013

    Time Travel Disaster: Chapter One

    "Well, Opal, we got a lot of shopping done today!" Rarity said cheerfully. She was trotting to the room of were she was staying in Canterlot. Her grumpy cat, Opalessence, held most of her bags on his back. As she walks by a stand that was selling trips into the past, she thought about hat it would be like for her to go back in time. "If I had the choice to go back in time anywhere," Rarity said, talking to nopony in particular, "I would most certainly go back to when when my friends and I had that wonderful picnic wen we first became friends! That was the best time I'd had in ages. I'd love to relive it again." She then sighed. "But time travel isn't real, Rarity, so why think about it?" As she was about to step into her room, a voice behind her said, "Oh, time travel is most certainly possibe, madame." She turned around to see a brown stallion with a darker brown mane and tail. His cutie mark was an hour glass. "And who might you be?" Rarity asked. "I am Doctor Whooves," the brown stallion answered. "Who are you?" "I am Rarity," she answered him curtly. "So you said that time travel is possible. How?" "By using this." The Doctor showed her a blue Police Box standing behind him. "It's just a Police box," she told him. "It's a special Police Box," he informed her. "This is a TARDIS." "So it will enable me to go back in time?" Rarity asked, genuinely curious. "Certainly!" The Doctor said. "Oh, can I please try?" Rarity begged. "Sure!" The Doctor answered. "Just keep in mind that whatever you do in the past will change the future, even the slightest mistake could cause something big and horrible to happen now." Rarity nodded. "Also," he continued, "whenever you want to come back to the present, just find the Police Box and step into it. Now where to?" "To the picnic with my friends. I'm not sure of the exact date, however." "Very well." He led her inside and closed the door. It seemed to be spinning. All of a sudden, dizzyness overwelmed her and the whole world went black.- Hope you like! Please rate and review! And read my other stories at 'dull days' all results and 'apple jack' first three results. Thanks!Q RD 8\/\

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2003

    Awesome!!

    At the time that I purchased this book, my 12th grade English class was studying the Anglo-Saxon Period (which goes in to Celtics, Druids and what-not) so it was a great way to relate and most facts stated in the book were the same ones we were learning in class. This is one of those stories that grabs you from the start. You could truly identify with the characters and the romance was an A+ (even in the oddest of places). Some of the action and romance were just crazy considering their current settings/situations and at first I doubted that the plot would even work but I was proven wrong. The woman can work wonders. The ending did come very quickly and left us in the shadows but all in all it was a great read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2003

    Very good.....but it died in the end

    I've enjoyed Lowells' books, but they always seem to die at the end. It seems like Lowell gets tired of the story and tries to wrap it up in 4 or 5 pages without really explaining all the plot scenarios. She never did explain who it was that Morrison murdered that Miranda was blackmailing him for all those years...or Miranda's part in the murder. In one sentence Risa says she's going to marry Shane....but no explanation of how that came about. One of the biggest plot twists was that the 'triad' or 'Red Phoenix' was going to set up Shane and thus eliminate him as competition in Vegas. I read and reread pages to make sure I hadn't missed anything....I didn't. It wasn't explained. She takes us thru 440 odd pages of suspense of 3 casino owner/mgrs plotting Shane's downfall of money laundering and we're all excited to see how he's going to get the best of these people.....and it dies......again. I was a bit disappointed.....again. I expected more from Lowell. I wish she would take the time with her endings that she does with the rest of it. I gave it 4 stars because up until the last 4-5 pages.....was a great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2002

    dissapointed

    I'm a great fan and spent weeks looking forward to the books release, but.... This book is classified as a romance, but where was the romance. I didn't expect sappy dialogue, but I did expect for the main characters to talk and learn about each other through interaction, not background checks. Goodness the antagonists took up as much of the book as the main characters, with cameo appearances by old characters from other books. And as far as discribing this as a mystery/suspense everything was spelled out, no doubt of what was going to happen, just when it was going to happen. I realize that authors are under contract to produce books and schedules are important, but if the story doesn't measure up then printing it, especially in hardcover is a waste.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2002

    What A Ride!

    Once again, Elizabeth Lowell treats us to an incredible ride with twists and turns that keep you spellbound. The characters jump off the pages and leave you wanting more. Readers of Elizabeth Lowell will do well to check out Shade of the Maple by Kirk Martin. Yes, a guy, whose characters and story will leave you breathless and amazed. You will not be disappointed with either of these titles.

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