I've been a long-time fan of Iris Johansen, especially the Eve Duncan series. Although STALEMATE is decidedly different from the other stories starring Eve Duncan from the past, I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed it--so much so that I stayed up until 3am to finish the book.
Yes, the Eve in this story isn't the saintly, never-do-anything-wrong Eve that many readers have come to know and love. She becomes attracted to a bad guy who, at least in the beginning of the story, is the mother of all bad guys. Montalvo, however, isn't what he appears to be--just, as it would turn out, the same way that solid, ever-steady Eve isn't just the pushover we've always thought her to be.
The action in this story is non-stop, with a great appearance by Galen (one of my favorite characters of all-time) and with a great new character, 19-year-old Miguel. Montalvo, I'll admit, is a very, very appealing character; whether he's being a bad guy who seems to kill without compunction or a sensitive man who lost his wife to a drug lord, you can't help but find yourself drawn to him.
I, for one, am hoping that Ms. Johansen brings Montalvo back for more stories. Whether or not Eve and Joe (who, by the way, acted like a giant, ego-bruised baby throughout most of this story) can get their relationship back on track, or whether Eve will allow her attraction to Montalvo to grow, we'll have to wait and see.
But STALEMATE is definitely not a disappointing read. Kudos to Ms. Johansen for bringing back an Eve Duncan who actually started to act like a real, fallible human being, instead of a perfect, wounded princess.
The stories of Eve Duncan were taut and riveting at first, but now I think it's time she found her daughter's remains so she can move on and become a forensic detective who isn't haunted by the past. This book seems to set the stage for that, bringing in a new character who will surely reappear in future books, Montalvo. This book was pretty good, and the final 70 or so pages were riveting.
Iris Johansen is the kind of author that never fails to keep the story moving quickly, with unexpected twists and turns that makes the reader reluctant to put the book down! I am always pleased to see a book by Johansen that I haven't already read, and this book is as good as any of her previous novels.
While I usually enjoy the Eve Duncan books I felt like this book was missing something. The search for Bonnie seems to be getting overly drawn out. I think it's time for that chapter of Eves life to be put to rest so Johansen can further develop her character beyond just being driven by the search for her daughter.
While the story was interesting..I felt that it wasn't quite as riveting as her earlier Eve Duncan books. I found myself wanting to get to the end just so I could move on to another book. A decent book overall but I wouldn't say it was one of Johansens best.
Johansen introduces a new character in this book, Montalvo. He has a dangerous reputation as a weapons dealer in the Columbian jungle. She refuses him, twice, but he promises her Bonny. She goes to Columbia, and Joe follows her, bringing Galen. Eve finds herself attracted to Montalvo, and he definitely wants her. I love the way Johansen weaves our old favorite characters in with new ones. Great read.