AKA JANE by Maureen Tan


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 Coy debut action-romance featuring a British secret agent turned bestselling mystery novelist who can't quite stay out of the spy business. After her parents are murdered in an apparent IRA strike, Jane Nichols is raised by her kindly grandfather, a retired British Navy admiral who guides her toward the fatherly MI5 chief Douglas MacDonald. Packing a Walther PPK (one of James Bond's trademark weapons), Nichols takes to dangerous, violent IRA infiltration like a seasoned pro--until her lover (and fellow spy) Brian Hurst dies trying to protect her from a contract killing ordered by a red-headed, American-based IRA terrorist. Nichols tries to work out her romantic frustrations by pounding out a pseudonymous American trenchcoat mystery series that becomes successful enough for her agent to warn her to prepare for tax problems. Then Nichols's next spy job results in the death of a British undercover cop. Racked by nightmares and guilt, she quits MI5 and retires to a cozy bed-and-breakfast in Savannah, Georgia, intending to tour the swamps and continue her writing career. But, alas, she can't help but discover that her erstwhile red-headed adversary, Jim O'Neil, is a respected pillar of the local community. Newcomer Tan owes more to Sharon McCrumb than John le CarrÇ, as Nichols submits to the advances of tough-talking Savannah Police Chief Alex Callaghan, a fan of her mysteries. As the two of them expose O'Neil, who drops into brogue as he strangles his victims, Tan piles on the clichÇs- -numerous blows, for example, cause Nichols repeatedly to ``explode'' in pain. At last, the besotted, Callaghan will murmur to Nichols, ``You're one tough cookie.'' Predictable but crisply written female fantasy, frothy and fun.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1997
ISBN: 0-89296-658-0
Page count: 304pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1997