Soho Crime. Jul. 2016. 384p. ISBN 9781616957247. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781616957254. F
Michelle Mason and her boyfriend Danny have a past they'd like to forget—and for the most part, they have. Living in California's Humboldt County as Emily and Jeff, they've established honorable lives as a restaurant owner and volunteer firefighter, respectively. Emily is proud of her accomplishments, but Jeff hasn't adjusted as easily. After she simultaneously learns that Jeff has been arrested for drug trafficking and receives a visit from an ex-CIA contractor-turned-bad guy Gary, Emily soon abandons her restaurant, reassumes her real identity as Michelle, and begins juggling Jeff/Danny's legal situation and a new undercover assignment that Gary had blackmailed her into carrying out. Michelle ingratiates herself as the assistant to the founder of a charity organization. She doesn't know what Gary is up to, but she knows he can't be trusted. Michelle must decide what she values most—her new boss's safety, her boyfriend's release from prison, or her own freedom. In her fifth thriller (after Getaway), Brackmann has created a damaged but likable protagonist. Her prose is engaging, but the story line itself is anticlimactic.
VERDICT Give this one to readers looking for character-driven suspense.
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