This time out, I have Mariah Stewart's Forgotten (Ballantine). Portia Cahill isn't especially thrilled about being back in the States. She preferred her overseas gig in more dangerous parts of the world, but she's been outed, so no more undercover for her. Now she's assigned to try to persuade a pedophile serial killer to give up one of his unadmitted victims in time for the boy's dying mother. Sheldon Woods is an appalling man, and knowing that he still lives while many more boys lie in unmarked graves makes Portia angry enough to decide she will get him, one way or another. But when he gives up the info on this particular boy, in exchange for something he very much wants, she's shocked to find another body in the same grave, one that Woods won't discuss. To solve this mystery, she has to join forces with Jim Cannon, Woods's former attorney. She also has the backing of her friends and family at the F.B.I., but there's a new killer on the loose as well, throwing a monkey wrench into their first investigation in his bid to get their attention. Woods is a truly horrid human being, one you won't like, but later, one whom you may feel a bit of sympathy for, surprising as that is. Portia and Jim are an unlikely duo. She's got family issues that are ongoing, and a huge heaping of guilt well into the story when the killer strikes closer to home. Jim has fewer issues, and is a likable sort of guy. This is a great mystery, but there's not nearly enough romance in this one to suit me. There's more than in Mercy Street, but the main focus of this is solving the mystery. That doesn't mean it's a bad book; it's definitely a great book. It's just a great suspense novel with a touch of romance, rather than a great romantic suspense. I always look forward to seeing a new book from Ms. Stewart, however, and I'm waiting impatiently for the next book in her 'Mercy Street' series next year.
Until next time, happy reading!