cover image Falling


Simona Ahrnstedt, trans. from the Swedish by Alice Menzies. Kensington, $15 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-4967-0621-8

Swedish author Ahrnstedt’s outstanding second installment in the High Stakes series (after All In) delivers two sets of appealing, conflicted protagonists: sexy, wealthy playboy Alexander de la Grip and humanitarian doctor Isobel Sørensen, and, in a compelling subplot, Alexander’s estranged, depressed older brother, Peter, and ambitious Gina, a young Somali immigrant who cleans offices while studying medicine. Isobel reluctantly apologizes for her past disdain for Alexander’s decadent behavior, hoping for his company’s continued support of Medpax, a small humanitarian aid organization that runs a hospital in war-torn Chad. He insists on a date, intrigued by her passion and commitment to fieldwork in high-need locations. Their sizzling chemistry catches both of them off guard and childhood trauma inhibits their growing desire for real intimacy, but even when their responsibilities keep them on different continents, their mutual affection builds. While Alexander and Isobel enjoy public flirtation at charity events and weddings, Peter and Gina’s bond develops slowly over private meals in a staff lounge. Complex, fully realized characters, settings that range from Swedish castles to a barely equipped hospital with exhausted personnel and dying children, and a dangerous rescue mission with a breathtaking finale make this a page-turner to savor. Agent: Anna Frankl, Nordin (Sweden). (Aug.)