72 Hours

Dana Marton
April 2008, Series Romance
Harl Intrigue #1055, $4.99, 224 pages, Amazon ASIN 0373693222

Grade: B
Sensuality: Subtle

72 Hours is a thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat wondering if the hero and heroine would actually be alive at the end of the book.

The book begins with Parker McCall, an agent for a covert U.S. anti-terrorist agency, racing for his life through the streets of Paris. Just as Parker begins to make progress against his pursuers, his superior calls with the news that Tarkmez rebel forces have seized the Russian embassy in Paris while the U.S. consul was dining there. Making the situation more complicated, Parker discovers that the consul he's charged to rescue is his former fiancée, Kate Hamilton.

Kate left Parker nearly two years earlier over issues of trust and long separations due to his job that she believes is with Reuters. Once Parker reaches Kate in the embassy, it becomes clear that they still have strong feelings for each other.

With the exception of the epilogue, the remainder of the book takes place in the embassy, with the focus almost entirely on Parker and Kate's efforts to get out. The format of the book is reminiscent of the TV show 24 since the chapter headings provide the hour and day that the action takes place. The book is primarily plot-driven, with minimal character development.

I tend to be very squeamish about violence, and there is a lot of death and violence in this book. The action involves chemical weapons, rebels with TNT belts, and guns and rifles of all kinds. However, as we only really know Kate and Parker and many of the deaths occur off-screen with few graphic details, they seemed rather remote and didn't really bother me.

The book is tightly written, but there's not much romance involved. Although Kate and Parker share a hot kiss or two while attempting to break out of the embassy, they don't make the classic, wall-banger mistake of having sex. Because they spend a majority of the book in situations where they can't make a sound, there's minimal dialogue. We learn about their past relationship and their current feelings through internal thoughts and flashbacks from both Kate and Parker's perspective.

If you're looking for a book with lots of character development and romance, this isn't the book for you. However, if you like a fast-paced thriller, this may be your type of read. While I wouldn't want a steady diet of books like this, I found 72 Hours to be a gripping, fast read.

-- LinnieGayl Kimmel

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