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Julie Doe

Parallel Lies - Kate Donovan [Another old review from my book blog]

It's been a long time since I have read a book that made me laugh out loud so many times-and not in a good way. I'm just thankful that I switched completely from dog-earing pages to taking written notes while reading. Otherwise this book would not have been in good enough shape to dispose of at the used book store.

Five years ago, Sabrina Sullivan's father, a partner in a high tech security company called Perimeter, was killed by an assassin's bomb. Theo Howell, her father's partner, believed that Sabrina and her sister, Michelle, were the assassin's next targets and arranged for them to disappear into a witness protection program. They have been in hiding since then.

Now it's five years later. Twenty-three-year-old Michelle takes off with her new boyfriend on a romantic vacation. Yes, the boyfriend has ulterior motives that relate to Sabrina's father's death. Yes, he's using his charm to convince Michelle not to leave their secret romantic getaway location. And yes, he's surreptitiously drugging Michelle to get information - BUT - Sabrina knows none of this when she goes crazed-Mother-Hen on her sister and blows their witness protection identities by returning to Perimeter to ask for their help in finding Michelle. Sabrina's evidence of the boyfriend's nefarious intentions? He insists that Michelle leave her cell phone at home.

Zach Lansing has taken her Sabrina's father's place at Perimeter. He and Theo agree to help Sabrina. Zach initially tries to shut Sabrina about of the investigation, but she pushes her way in. They begin to unravel the details of who killed who and when and why. They find Michelle and eliminate the threat that been hanging over the sisters for five years. Etc., etc. etc.

Sabrina and Zach drove me up a figurative wall. Both come off as caricatures.

Sabrina has one note: protecting her sister is her "mission" in life. She is portrayed as the perfect little spy to be, trained by her father before his death. She's a twenty-five-year-old with some training, but no real world experience (and no practice in the previous five years, remember), who repeatedly one-ups Zach, who has been playing spy professionally for much longer. At one point, she also pushes around a very large bodyguard-type guy. Literally pushes. Huh? Did her years-old spy training also give her superhuman strength?

Her biggest TSTL moment comes, however, when with the help of Zach and Perimeter, Sabrina figures out approximately where Michelle and the boyfriend are. After whining incessantly through the book any time she wasn't fully included in all parts of the investigation, she lies to Zach about what she found and sends him on a wild goose chase...so she can find and confront the boyfriend herself! That pegged the needle on my brand new hypocrisy-meter. Fortunately, it's still under warranty.

Zach is hot-headed, both in words and in action. This shoot-first-and-think-later attitude strikes me as a trait that would be rather, um, detrimental to his chosen profession. At times, I found myself wishing Zach would put that temper to good use and just strangle Sabrina and be done with it. The secondary characters of Michelle and her boyfriend, John, are much more realistic and sympathetic. Heck, even the bad guys were more interesting than Sabrina, although with names like Adonis and Pluto, I have to recommend the author get a new "Name Your Baby" book for characters.

Vague language and spotty details of the high tech world of security abound. I stopped counting the number of times the word "crew" was used (in reference to the team that Zach was supposedly commanding) after I reached twenty. The impression I got was that the world in which this was set was just as much a mystery to the author as it was to me. So she tossed in some lingo and voila! Instant background for a spy story.

That's not good enough for me though. Spend your money on something else.