cover image MESMERIZED


Gayle Lynds, MESMERIZEDGayle Lynds

Is it possible for memories and talents to be transferred from one human being to another by a heart transplant? Lynds (Mosaic) develops this entertaining premise into a hit-or-miss espionage thriller, pitting Russian assassins against two wrongfully accused fugitives. Beautiful blonde international lawyer Beth Convey collapses in court during a heated trial and wakes to find herself with a new heart, recovered from a murdered Russian man. Soon she craves Russian foods, becomes a karate expert and nearly gets herself killed by a KGB assassin after she calls a phone number she hears in her head; she only escapes with help from publicly disgraced but secretly deep cover FBI agent Jeff Hammond. After Beth shoots another would-be assassin in front of witnesses, and Hammond is framed by an FBI mole for murder, the two band together to track down the man they believe is behind it all—ex-KGB biggie Alexei Berianov. When they discover that Berianov is associated with a fanatic U.S. group called Keepers of the Truth, and that both the U.S. president and Vladimir Putin, on a visit to the White House, may be in danger, they must sprint to save the day, all the while evading their pursuers. Lynds crafts great action scenes and hairbreadth escapes, plotting double and triple crosses. But bothersome gaps toward the end of the narrative and preachy dialogue at unusual moments disrupt the flow and derail the otherwise on-target narrative. An overemphasis on physical description also distracts from Lynds's potentially intriguing but finally disappointing tale. (May)

Forecast: Lynds co-wrote The Hades Factor with legendary author Robert Ludlum, but this solo effort fails to hit the mark. The long blurb from Ludlum on the galley (and presumably on the dust jacket) may spur sales, but in this book Lynds doesn't display what it takes to draw Ludlum-size crowds.