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320 DOWN by Christopher J. O'Bryant

320 DOWN

By Christopher J. O'Bryant

Pub Date: March 19th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4500-4270-3
Publisher: Xlibris

A financial sleuth sets her sights on a suspect who seems very guilty and very attractive in this twisty romantic mystery.

Dawn McCafferty wants a more exciting man and a less exciting job, so she dumps her clingy nebbish of a boyfriend and quits the FBI to take what she hopes will be a sedate gig as an investigator with a federal agency called the National Credit Union Association. When a San Diego credit union’s computer system misplaces $320 million, NCUA geeks start poring over millions of lines of code, but McCafferty’s intuition zeroes in on the likely thief: Tom Williams, a disgruntled employee who was accused of embezzlement 18 months before and sidetracked into a dead-end post as a debt collector. Tom insists he’s innocent, but he has a motive—revenge—and he’s a thorough-going rogue to boot: when Dawn accuses him, he replies by asking her out for dinner. Dating the prime suspect is frowned upon, but what the hell, Dawn figures; she likes overpowering men with her looks—she’s got martial arts chops and a nine millimeter for backup—and thinks she might worm a confession out of Tom after a few drinks. What follows is a tango of seduction and deception as Tom and Dawn fence, flirt and get under each other’s skin while her fuming superiors keep the couple under surveillance. Dawn’s certainty that he’s the perp never wavers, yet Tom eludes every snare set by the humiliated feds; the more she pursues him the more she is drawn to his resourcefulness, bad-boy charm and restless soul. O’Bryant shapes Dawn’s dilemma—what if she has to send her ideal man to prison?—into a zesty yarn, complete with snappy dialogue, colorful characters and an intricate plot whose many turns will keep readers guessing. Tom and Dawn are two strong, prickly but warm-hearted leads, and we can’t help hoping they’ll wind up hand-cuffed to each other.

A nifty whodunit-cum-love story with a touch of screwball comedy.