I love Iris Johansen’s stories about Eve Duncan, her family and friends. Your Next Breath engages us in the life of Catherine Ling, a friend of Eve’s, who suddenly finds that former acquaintances are being stalked and killed by someone who wants to see Catherine suffer. As a CIA agent who was recruited practically as a child, Catherine has made a lot of enemies. Which one of them wants to reek revenge on her and those she is close to?
Although Catherine sees herself as a loner she finds as the circle tightens around her, she really has many more people who care about her and are considered targets than she ever imagined. First and foremost is her 12 year old son Luke who was kidnapped when he was two and raised by an evil man who also sought to punish Catherine. Now that she has Luke back, she will do anything in her power to keep him and her friends safe. However, it is no small task and she finds herself all over the world trying to find the vicious murder before he kills those who mean the most to her.
I enjoy the complexity of Johansen’s characters and the “special” gifts some of them have that are almost supernatural and yet fascinating in terms of how she weaves these into her story. Richard Cameron is one of those people with a special gift that he always seems able to use when Catherine needs it most. Will their relationship develop into what Catherine is fighting so hard not to feel? Seth Caleb is another character with “special” talents and his use of these will be important when Jane, Eve’s daughter, is most in need of them, another complex relationship that leaves the reader wondering where it will lead.
Two friends, one single one married, are once again united on the island of Quinnipeague. Since childhood they have shared many happy memories on the island until 10 years ago when Nicole married Julian. It was at the time of that marriage when life changed their friendship and their lives. Charlotte, a successful travel writer, lives on the road with no ties to any one place. Nicole is a food blogger from Philadelphia who has been commissioned to write a book about island food. As a result she invites her old friend Charlotte, to spend a summer on Quinnipeague, helping her with interviewing the locals to capture their island recipes and their family stories.
What neither realizes is there are secrets they each hold that will change the course of their lives and their friendship. However, these secrets also hold the key to helping each love again more fully both in their friendship and in their relationships with their husband and a reclusive local man who has mysterious secrets of his own.
A friend introduced me to the writings of Iris Johansen several years ago and I have enjoyed everyone of her fascinating Eve Duncan novels. Eve is a forensic sculptor who reconstructs the skulls of children who have died but are yet unidentified. She does this to bring closure to the parents whose loved ones have vanished, a situation with which she can readily identify since her own child was kidnapped and murdered. This novel continues the story of Eve, Jane her adopted daughter and Joe the love of her life.
In this story Eve’s skills are once again coveted by a man whose son may or may not be dead. However, he cannot go to the police to confirm that the skull he has in his possession is his son’s. Therefore, he has stalked Eve and set up her kidnapping to finally know once and for all if this is in fact his son. However, the story takes the reader down a twisted path as you learn more about the father and the son.
I haven’t read any of Lisa Kleypas‘ historicals but have read some of her contemporary books and love them. Smooth Talking Stranger is my favorite hands down.