When Danger Calls
by Terry Odell
Review by Gayle Surrette
Five Star (ME) Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781594147234
Date: 10 December 2008 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
When Danger Calls by Terry Odell has been called a romance, a mystery with a romance, and a thriller with a bit of romance. I call it one heck of a wild read that will keep you turning the pages to see what happens next. Yes, there's a romance. But, there are also several mysteries to be solved.
The story opens as Ryan Harper is on a mission to pick up some information from an informant in South America. Everything goes wrong and Ryan barely gets out alive. He'll recover from the infection, but the broken leg and the damage to his career will be a long time in healing. This is the second mission in a row that has failed and in both cases he was the only survivor. He steps away and returns to Broken Bow, Montana to stay in his brother's cabin and nurse his wounds.
Frankie Castor has returned to Broken Bow to help her mother at the request of her sister. Her mother's health hasn't been good. Frankie quit her job and moved with her five-year-old daughter, Molly. She managed to get a long-term substitute teaching position and a part time waitress job at a bar out of town -- the Three Elks.
Ryan goes to the bar to brood and use the wifi connection. He's become a challenge to the waitresses as he seems to have no interest in them. Frankie agrees to try to make him smile. This initial meeting would be the first and last except that Broken Bow isn't that big and they've both got lives that are going to keep bringing them together. In the hands of a lesser writer all of these coincidences that continue to bring Ryan and Frankie together would get to be a bit much. But the writing is such that you find yourself just going with it for the sake of the story -- and when you do stop to examine these incidences, you sort of hope you'd do the same.
Frankie's problems revolve around her mother, her mother's boyfriend, some suspicious accidents, missing jewels and money, finding child care, and other worries of single parents. Ryan's concerns are more about national security and whether the company he works for has a leak that is compromising operatives and missions. His biggest concern is can he figure out what's going on before someone actually succeeds in killing him -- working on the assumption that two tries have failed.
So, it's a romance with mystery and thriller action. Two very different people, but with very similar beliefs, values, and a lot of common sense somehow manage to help each other survive through some very difficult and scary circumstances.