Author: Dee Davis
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: June 1, 2007
Artist Mia Kearney has the perfect life: a successful career, a home she loves, amazing friends…until the hot August morning her world explodes. Lone survivor of a nuclear accident, Mia awakens in a government facility, faced with Homeland Security agent Nicholas Price, a man who wants answers she knows she doesn't have.
When Mia escapes, Nick has a choice to make. The CIA wants him off the case, but instinct tells him not to let Mia out of his sight.
Now the web of deceit that's woven tightly around them is about to unravel, and someone out there won't be satisfied until Cedar Branch's last surviving resident is dead....
A nuclear blast took out the entire population of small town Cedar Branch in Idaho. Only one survived, artist Mia Kearney. Is she a victim who miraculously survived or did she have something to do with the blast? That's what Nick Price of Homeland Security wants to find out.
But when she escapes and Nick is called home, all kinds of red flags are raised and he has no choice but go after her. Then, when it becomes evident someone wants to silence Mia forever, Nick realizes not everything is as it seems and the two embark together on a journey to discover the truth. The truth the powers that be would do anything to keep buried.
This would've been an excellent romantic suspense / thriller story if it wasn't for its length. Because instead of filling all those pages with gripping, intriguing stuff, the author stuffed it with page-filling minutiae, only sparsely intersected by suspenseful elements, action scenes, and the hero-heroine conflict. Said conflict would've been much more interested if she kept it constant (but the ping-pong effects of now-he-believes-her-now-he-doesn't-now-he-does got old pretty quickly).
I loved the slow buildup toward the discovery of the truth (what could be seen through the insignificant details), but unfortunately Ms. Davis showed her hand too soon and I figured out what it was all about somewhere in the middle. Of course it took the characters, a former Special Forces operative and an artist turned computer genius (major suspension of disbelief needed here!), later on helped by Nick's Homeland Security buddy and computer wiz almost to the end to connect the dots.
Kudos for the excellent portrayal of the hypocrisy, greed, and blood-lust among those who are sworn to protect us, but are willing to sell their mothers to make a decent buck.