Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Scent of Danger

Andrea Kane
Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Lest you think that everything I read is scholarly (which is far from the truth, but I picked up a bunch of advance reader copies lately), it's time to delve into some of the other things I've been reading lately. When searching through a free book pile (yay! free books!), mysteries will always get consideration from me because they're usually fun.

Scent of Danger is your typical thriller. Someone gets shot in the opening pages, and much of the book is speculation as to who did it, as the protagonists end up in more and more danger. Typically, the protagonists include a very sharp, attractive woman, and a very sharp, attractive man. Not so typically, though their initial meeting is fraught with tension (*not* due to their personalities), they don't carp at each other before falling in love. Likewise atypically, though the cops don't solve the case, and though they don't make much progress along the way, they are generally considered to be competent at their job, and their missteps are chalked up to typical human inability to be perfect. That's fairly refreshing, and makes me suspect that the author has actually spent time in the presence of real police officers.

The book touches on a few topics that you wouldn't expect to see in a mystery novel, such as the process of kidney donation, and the morality of industrial espionage. It also touches on perfume - the person shot at the beginning of the novel is the CEO of a leading perfume manufacturer and, tellingly, the premiere fragrance of the company has a formula that only he knows. (This is what is known as a "trade secret" and enjoys permanent protection in courts until the secret is leaked. Coca-Cola's formula is a trade secret.) So the people in the book have to find out why the CEO was shot... and if someone will try to finish the job, and stop the production of the pheromone based perfume phenomenon.

Not a bad little book for a quick read. I didn't feel that the characters were ever in excessive danger, which tones down the thriller aspect some. Overall, I'd say ***.5/*****

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