cover image Free Fall

Free Fall

Catherine Mann. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $6.99 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-1-4022-7496-1

Mann spins a tense and dramatic sequel to 2011’s Hot Zone. Interpol agent Stella Carson instantly clicks with Air Force pararescueman Jose “Cuervo” James on an antipiracy mission in Africa, but their sizzling affair is brief: Stella wants the white picket fence and kids, and Jose is too afraid of re-creating his own troubled upbringing. A month after the breakup, they reunite when Jose helps rescue Stella and several other hostages from kidnappers and leads a jungle trek to safety. Jose and Stella still feel the heat, but relationship decisions will have to wait until after they stop a terrorist attack. Multiple plots and personal complications for the characters keep the action moving, and even Stella’s code-breaking desk work is given an exciting glow. The sex is scant and the ending far too pat, but the chemistry is strong, the prose is tight, and the story never stops moving. Agent: Barbara Collins Rosenberg, the Rosenberg Group. (Mar.)