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by Anna Blundy
Minotaur Books, July 2009
288 pages
ISBN: 0312368658

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Faith Zanetti is a journalist attracted to the adrenaline rush of the war zone but suffering from too-frequent exposure to bombs going off and dead children lying in ditches. She drinks vodka neat, presumably a legacy of her time in Moscow, where she was once arrested for murder. She smokes a lot. She tends to twitch rather badly at the sound of a champagne cork going off.

This is only the second Faith Zanetti thriller to appear in the US though, as DOUBLE SHOT, it is actually the fourth in the series. In this one, Faith is assigned to do a piece on the anniversary of what is here called the Cairnbridge disaster, but which is closely modelled on the Lockerbie crash in 1998. Though Faith is doubtful that much new can be turned up after all the acres of print that have already been expended on various conspiracy theories, she sweeps up her baby son and takes him off to be with his father in Tuscany while she has a few drinks and sees what new light she can shed on the possible Mafia connection to the outrage.

Meanwhile she is getting disturbing hints that her father, who was supposed to have been killed in Ireland when she was a little girl, may still be alive. At least someone is trying to give her the notion that he is, which does very little for her mental balance.

Blundy is here drawing on autobiography for her plot line. When Anna was eighteen, her father, a journalist, was in fact killed while working on a story in El Salvador and her first book was an account of trying to find out what she could about him, a classic absent father. Apparently, the ghosts have yet to be laid as she returns to the theme in the preposterous and maudlin final third of this book.

More chick-lit than thriller, this is likely to appeal more to the sort of reader that followed the life-style column she used to write, the one parodied in BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY. According to the publicity accompanying the book, Faith is "everyone's favorite messed-up war correspondent." Well, not quite everyone's.

Reviewed by Yvonne Klein, September 2009

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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