As TAKING EVE begins, Eve Duncan has finished a forensic clay model and plans to have it shipped. She remains alone at the lake house she shares with Detective Joe Quinn, her long-time lover and soulmate, who is leaving to testify at a murder trial. Eve’s adopted daughter, Jane MacGuire, plans to spend the time he’s gone with Eve. Quinn hesitates to leave her alone after she relates an eerie dream from the previous night, and cautions her to use the utmost safety measures until Jane arrives.
Jim Doane has lived under the CIA’s protection for years but is now missing. He stalks Eve because he believes she can help him solve the mystery surrounding his son, Kevin. The only remnant he has is the burnt skull fragments he rescued from cremation. Doane is convinced he knows the man who is responsible for Kevin’s demise but wants the skull reconstructed to be certain. He uses the raw cunning of a man known as Blick, a former accomplice Kevin used in murder schemes. Five years before, Kevin was convicted and killed, but Blick escaped being caught. Doane is now partnering with Blick in his diabolical scheme to revive his son and set him free.
"Eve’s determination to escape is the dominant force as we reach the end of this suspense-laden 15th installment of the series."
Jane telephones Eve with bad news. Her trip is delayed because her beloved dog, Toby, is suddenly quite ill and near death’s door. She enlists her friend, Seth Caleb, to fly them in his private jet to an experimental laboratory on a remote island that is operated by Dr. Sarah and her assistant, Dr. Devon Brady. Arriving on the island, Dr. Brady takes control of the situation. With Jane’s permission, he calls in a young girl named Margaret, who has the reputation of being a dog whisperer. Her uncanny talents could help in Toby’s diagnosis and treatment. The quicker the dog heals, the speedier Jane can fly to the states to be with Eve. It develops that Toby had been poisoned at the animal care shelter he stayed at for a few days back in London. Margaret’s touch with the sick pooch gives Jane hope that he will recover. Who would want to harm her pet? And why? Caleb vows to help her find answers.
Meanwhile, Eve finalizes the skull she’s completing and readies it for FedEx pickup. She is visited by a young man who has been privy to her history with Bonnie, her murdered daughter who has appeared to both her and Quinn in dream states. Ben Hudson had helped them find Bonnie’s body and claimed to communicate with the dead girl as well. Eve was uncertain about his claim but knew he was sincere. This time, he states that, in a dream, “she said she couldn’t get through to you. She said the darkness was holding her back.”
Toby is recovering slowly and will be ready to travel soon. Jane, Margaret and Caleb will leave there to investigate the animal shelter and find answers to Toby’s poisoning. They walk toward the airplane hangar when a bullet changes their plans. Caleb wastes no time in contacting Quinn, who calls Eve with the news that Jane has been shot. Eve makes the snap decision to leave the lake and fly to Jane’s side.
A chain of events unfolds when Eve discovers Ben’s limp bloody body not far from her house. Leaning over to aid him, she sees a gray-haired man in a red pickup truck stopped just behind her car. He introduces himself as “Doane” and offers to call 911. When Eve bends over to assist Ben, a pinprick in her back renders her unconscious. Her ordeal has begun.
Iris Johansen brings us a scenario of abduction, attempted murder, coercion, a relentless search and an attempted escape. Quinn, alerted that his beloved Eve is in danger, returns home, enlists his entire resource group, welcomes a healing Jane and her entourage to the hunt, and barrages CIA agent Venable for answers. Eve, herself a captive in a remote Colorado location, fights for her own survival while Doane forces her to reconstruct Kevin’s skull. His revenge includes not only Eve but also the murder of the two men he holds responsible for his son’s death.
An emotional drama, TAKING EVE strays from earlier Eve Duncan novels in that large chunks of text revolve around psychological factors that are somewhat redundant. The characters searching for Eve have a common theme --- her safety --- but muddle at times reaching the conclusion. Nevertheless, Eve’s determination to escape is the dominant force as we reach the end of this suspense-laden 15th installment of the series.
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on May 17, 2013