Sunday, April 4, 2010


by Shannon Baker
L&L Dreamspell
Spring, TX
ISBN: 9781603181600

Veterinarian Annie Grant grew up on a cattle ranch in Nebraska, working closely with her father, whose religiosity eventually caused a break in their relationship. Because of this, Annie shuns all forms of religion and has not spoken to her family for years. Working for a pharmaceutical company in Israel, she thinks she’s found the cure for a deadly bovine disease which has crossed over to humans. But before she can verify this, her lab is bombed and Annie, her best friend and lab partner Hassan, and her boss David (whom she is attracted to) are forced to flee to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, Annie and Hassan are kidnapped by a Jewish corporation threatening Hassan’s life if she doesn’t find the cure for the virus and subsequently fulfill a Jewish prophecy by producing a perfect red heifer. Annie is caught between fanatics on all sides: the Jewish corporation willing to murder for the red heifer, the Muslim Silim who are intent on finding Annie before she can produce the red heifer, and her father, unwilling to help her or forgive her. She faces danger at every turn as she tries to find a way to save bovine and human populations without giving in to the wishes of the fanatics.

From the bombing at the beginning of the book to the last page, this action-packed thriller moves at a fast pace with suspense around every corner. Annie is an appealing character: a compassionate woman loyal to her friends who loves deeply yet is torn about her own beliefs. The grief she feels over the rift with her father is nicely and realistically portrayed. The author’s exceptional visuals draw the reader into a world of warring religions set in the desert sands of the Middle East. Action scenes, characterization, and plot excel in this debut thriller.

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