An auditor finds herself in over her head when she accepts a dangerous assignment in Colombia in Lane’s debut novel.
Nikki Garcia’s job involves investigating and outing large-scale corporate fraud. An assignment in faraway Colombia seems like the perfect way for her to throw herself into her work, as she’s still recovering from the death of her son and the end of her marriage. Once in Medellin, however, she realizes that misappropriation of funds at Amazonia Steel is just the tip of the iceberg. Its CEO, Manuel Del Campo, alternates between being dismissive of Nikki and threatening her if she doesn’t drop the case. The few employees who do speak to her and try to get her inside information start to meet mysterious, “accidental” deaths. At the center of it all is Del Campo’s dashing, handsome friend Eduardo Duarte, who sweeps Nikki off her feet even though she’s not entirely sure that he’s innocent of wrongdoing. She must keep her head clear and her heart strong as her investigation draws her closer to serious danger and more people around her wind up dead. Lane shows a vivid sense of place as she describes the “densely populated and disorganized” Medellin city streets and the “thick stone and brick walls” suffering from “more than three centuries of neglect” in a castle in the ancient city of Cartagena, as seen through the eyes of her heroine. A former certified public accountant herself, she also does well at conveying enough business jargon to move the story along without overloading readers. The plot is fairly predictable, although there are moments of genuine suspense and uncertainty. Nikki is a strong heroine but still thinly drawn; she’s capable, beautiful, and emotionally wounded but otherwise not a fully fleshed-out character. The romance with Eduardo also feels a bit thin, with a few too many hackneyed lines such as, “You must have known I was falling in love with you. I haven’t taken my eyes off you since I met you.” Yet, in the end, this is an enjoyable read even if there aren’t many surprises in store.
A formulaic but entertaining thriller.