Chasing Eden

S. L. Linnea, Author . St. Martin's $6.99 (342p) ISBN 978-0-312-94961-7

Chaplain (Maj.) Jaime Richards makes a promising debut as a savvy-but-nurturing minister to American troops during the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Though she's an unconventional thriller protagonist, Richards leaves no doubt she's up to the task when, right out of the chute, she's the target of a kidnapping attempt—but not before she's reunited with a fatally injured college chum, Adara Dunbar. In her dying moments, Adara gives Jaime a silver pendant and a cryptic message, pleading with the chaplain to promise she'll complete Adara's mission. With Adara dead, though, her mission is a mystery, one that unfolds, labyrinthlike, over the course of the novel. Though hungry and sleep deprived, Jaime deciphers Adara's message, which leads her to the ancient city of Ur and a man who identifies himself as Adara's brother. His mission is to locate the biblical Garden of Eden—before others find it first—and Jaime is quickly drawn into the scramble. Following a popular formula, in which forces of good and evil race to locate religious artifacts, this one benefits from its wartime setting, which proves both prescient and dynamic. Unfortunately, Linnea fails to carry through the rich promise of her early chapters, delivering implausible plot devices and a disappointing ending. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/02/2007
Release date: 05/01/2007
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