cover image Mosaic


Gayle Lynds. Pocket Books, $24 (496pp) ISBN 978-0-671-02405-5

A punchy prologue to this disappointing romantic thriller pits ex-spy Sam Keeline, psychosomatically blind concert pianist Julia Redmond Austrian, and her peppery grandfather, Lyle Redmond, against her wealthy, wicked Redmond uncles. The plot coils around the final four days of Uncle Creighton's race for the U.S. presidency, during which Julia suddenly regains her sight but loses it again after witnessing a horrendous crime. Two mysteries are buried in the heart of this overcomplicated story: What originally caused Julia's blindness? And what happened to Russia's famed Amber Room, a treasure from the Winter Palace that disappeared from a Nazi train at the end of WWII and for which Sam, Julia's love interest, has long searched? Lynds (Masquerade) writes splendid action scenes, but though she expertly rides the roller coaster of Julia's alternately blind and seeing states, the off-again on-again affliction is hard to believe. Clever twists keep the fast-paced plot going for a while, but eventually it's weighed down with too many characters and too much repetition. (Dec.)