Billed as paranormal suspense, HUNTING EVE picks up where the first book in Iris Johansen’s trilogy, TAKING EVE, left off. Fortunately, newcomers are given sufficient back story to completely understand the plotline and its multiple twists and turns. Fans of the previous Eve Duncan novels will be glued to the pages, eager for the final outcome.
Jim Doane has kidnapped Eve Duncan from her lakeside home so she can reconstruct the skull of his dead son, Kevin. Kevin’s spirit breeds intense evil, and Eve feels his presence while being forced to utilize her artistic skill for his hideous purpose. Kevin reaches from the grave to his father, and at times, Doane’s intent becomes more sinister than his son’s. Kevin was the mass kidnapper/murderer of many little girls who suffered wretched and inhuman consequences. Doane’s obsession with the reconstruction begins with complicated planning, taking Eve from those who love her with little hope for her rescue.
"[T]he characters come together in a tiny mining ghost town, both outside and in a deserted saloon. There, Eve’s destruction or release will bring us to the conclusion. Fans will be happy to know that the finale of the trilogy publishes in October and is sure to bring ultimate satisfaction."
Along with Eve’s soul mate, detective Joe Quinn, adopted daughter Jane MacGuire and FBI agent Venable, the cast of characters expands to include a remarkable young woman named Margaret Douglas, who possesses the ability to communicate with animals on a personal basis. When the Doanes’ trail appears dry, Quinn calls on Dr. Kendra Michaels, who has the unique detail observance she gained from 22 years of former blindness. She detects minute clues from Doane’s vehicle, resurrected from a Georgia pond, that will lead Eve’s would-be rescuers to remote mountains in Colorado. In the meantime, Jane’s strength and love are tasked by the gunshot wound she has suffered from Kevin’s cohort, now Doane’s. Infection sets in, and she is sidelined in a hospital bed. Jane is both subdued and encouraged by her two dueling lovers, Mark Trevor and Seth Caleb. They support and challenge her, but she remains true to the job of finding Eve.
Johansen has developed a greater number of character styles here than in the first book of the trilogy. Not only do we meet the gross inhumanity of Doane, and Kevin’s spirit, Blick, contrasted with the fiercely loyal and very human family members and friends of Eve, an additional twist comes in the person of Lee Zander. Zander, the assassin who killed Kevin, maintains that he is Eve’s real father. His personal assistant, Howard Stang, comes into the story, with his own reason for vendetta as well.
Each chapter takes place in a different locale, with conflicting personalities, agendas and (perhaps) resolution. Loving family and professionals, each with unique tracking skills, converge in the remote Colorado gold mining towns that once bustled with activity but now lay deserted. In the meantime, Eve herself has once escaped from Doane, throwing the nearly finished skull of Kevin off a mountainside and down a steep cliff. She hopes that the work is totally destroyed and runs for her life. We follow her journey through deep wooded undergrowth, away from her captor. She is convinced that he plans to kill her when the reconstruction is finished.
The paranormal aspects of the book are laced throughout. Eve’s unity with the spirit of Bonnie, her murdered daughter, remains a factor in motion. Bonnie’s spirit is being chased by Kevin’s evil one, and Eve feels it. Margaret’s uncanny ability to commune with animals gives her a sixth sense in the hunt for Eve. Kendra’s former blindness projects her senses to utmost capacity, and Jane’s ability to read truth into her weird dreams proves a valuable tool. Additionally, Caleb’s family history of blood transfer to heal gives a boost to the paranormal activity here.
Lee Zander becomes a trigger to escape for Eve. But can she elude the combat-trained Jim Doane’s horrific plan for them both? The action runs back and forth from Vancouver, B.C. to Georgia to Colorado, leaving readers breathless. Each chapter ends with a dangling participle and no conclusion. Finally, the characters come together in a tiny mining ghost town, both outside and in a deserted saloon. There, Eve’s destruction or release will bring us to the conclusion. Fans will be happy to know that the finale of the trilogy publishes in October and is sure to bring ultimate satisfaction.
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on July 26, 2013