Friday, December 04, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Perseverance by Robin Lehman

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Perseverance by Robin Lehman. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Perseverance by Robin Lehman

by
Non-series

Fogdog Press (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-9841469-0-3 (0984146903)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9841469-0-1 (9780984146901)
Publication Date: August 2009
List Price: $13.95

Review: Robin Lehman introduces FBI Special Agent Regan Manning in Perseverance, a political thriller that may be the first of a new series.

Manning and her team from Quantico have been sent to Juneau, Alaska, the city of Manning's birth, to protect Washington officials and other VIPs during a three day summit conference. Convened by Energy Secretary Ella Vargas, the meeting is largely intended as a way to convince Alaskans that their state is the perfect place for the administration's bold new energy policy, which includes a newly devised method of drilling for oil and, oh by the way, a nuclear waste facility. Many residents have already voiced their negative opinion on the plan, and protest demonstrations are expected. But the extent of the violence is not expected. Just after the official plane lands at the airport, a pipe bomb explodes. The crowd at the airport erupts into a riot just as another bomb destroys a historic glacier. A third bomb is found, and defused, on a tram at the top of Mount Roberts, one of Juneau's most popular scenic attractions. The protestors claim the only way to get Washington's attention is to be blunt about their cause: America's last frontier is not the place for nuclear waste.

But Ella Vargas is not to be deterred. She ignores instructions laid out by Manning, intended to safeguard her, then blames Manning when her safety is at risk. Later Vargas disappears, and it falls to Manning and her team to find her. Vargas is soon found in a mining cave, but it appears she entered voluntarily, but for what purpose?. And when the stairs into the mine collapse, Manning isn't sure who is to blame. Can she trust the woman she is sworn to protect?

Perseverance is a thriller with an interesting premise, one that illustrates the difficulty of balancing the needs of the country against the needs of the community. The politics are well handled here, as is the pacing of the story. Regan Manning is an appealing character, imbued with wit and charm and the strength to take on her opponents (even if they're presumably on her side) and survive. Perseverance works well as a stand-alone novel, but many readers will undoubtedly like to see more of Regan Manning persevere, as it were, in future cases.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Perseverance and to Fogdog Press for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Synopsis (from the publisher): When Energy Secretary Ella Vargas opens the Alaska Energy Summit in Juneau, she's confident she can sell the administration's bold new energy plan -- including a nuclear waste facility in Alaska's interior. "The key word is balance," she declares. But someone unbalanced is bombing Juneau's landmarks, hoping to scare off Vargas and her fellow VIPs.

FBI Special Agent Regan Manning, a former Juneau girl, heads up the team from Quantico who must protect the dignitaries from the growing mob of angry protestors -- and from each other as their political agendas collide.

Tension mounts as Regan is forced to confront a string of personal and professional tests that culminates in the energy secretary's disappearance. Chastened that it happened on her watch, the agent is determined to find Vargas, ultimately uncovering a plot that raeches as high as the White House and as far as the Middle East. When Regan gets too close for comfort, somebody sets out to silence her.

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