EXPOSED IN BOSTON by Sheppard Ferguson


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A photojournalist becomes an unlikely heroine in this action-packed crime novel.

While on a dinner date, Susan Kessel impulsively snaps some pictures of a quartet of fellow diners: a prominent banker, a Mafioso, an arms dealer and a CIA agent. They react with fury that their meeting has been documented and demand her negatives. In short order, she’s subjected to threats and intimidation—and, later, kidnapping, assault and attempted murder. This early part of the story moves swiftly and enjoyably, with its double identities, matters of national security and various thugs and ne’er-do-wells. The latter part, however, focuses on an unconvincing sexual subplot. It’s a twist that adds heat, but does so at the expense of credibility: A grieving widow flirts with a potential new sex partner mere hours after her husband’s death, and a woman on the run pauses to explore new fantasies. Kessel begins the story as an engaging, multifaceted character—an attractive woman struggling with her weight, and a workaholic in a male-dominated field. By the end, though, readers may find that she comes across as one-dimensional and unlikeable, as she risks the lives of adults and children alike. Her repeated triumphs over villains also may strain credulity; how many times can a photographer elude or overpower experienced criminals? Still, the author often deftly portrays characters in a few evocative strokes (“[T]he rugby player he may have been wouldn't have looked much different from the policeman he was”), and the dialogue is reasonably convincing throughout. The relationship between Kessel and her mentor at the newspaper feels particularly authentic and appealing. The story’s pacing is consistently good as well, until the conclusion, which comes rather abruptly.

An uneven tale of the press, the Mafia, the CIA and unexpected consequences.

Pub Date: June 11th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0989334006
Page count: 244pp
Publisher: Self
Program: Kirkus Indie
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