Thursday, April 16, 2009


By Karen Robards
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2009. 369 pgs. New Books - Fiction

Young rookie lawyer Jessica Ford will do anything for her powerful boss, John Davenport. Jessica wants to make senior partner in her Washington, D.C. law firm and eliminate the financial needs and stresses of her family. John Davenport happens to be the personal lawyer and close friend of beloved first lady Annette Cooper. One night Davenport calls Jessica and asks a costly personal favor. Jessica must meet the first lady privately and escort her safely back into the hands of her protective security force. She must do this with out public recognition and threat of a scandal. The first lady has fled the confines of the white house and no one knows exactly why. Before Jessica can figure out the secret she is involved in a crash in the get away car. Everyone in the car tragically and gruesomely dies, except Jessica. Jessica must figure out why the first lady was running from her own security detail. Jessica doesn’t know who to trust and must put together the pieces of the puzzle while she runs from danger.

This mystery novel from Karen Robards starts with a bang. The first half is full of excitement and tension as Jessica is developed as a tough and smart character. The reader can realistically believe Jessica has the potential to figure out the 21st century Watergate tangle. However, it seems as if the mystery novel has an identity crisis towards the middle and becomes a romance novel. Author Karen Robards quickly and awkwardly sets up a steamy romance between Jessica and another character – while she is on the run from unknown assailants who want her dead. The attempt by Robards to have the characters get to know one another makes the exciting plot lose tension and believability. The prose of the novel becomes almost laughable in Robards attempt to wrap up the political plot while maintaining the tone of a romance novel. The weak, illogical and implausible ending will probably leave readers highly unsatisfied. Pursuit could have been a tight Grisham-like thriller, but it’s not.

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