by Catherine Snodgrass and Bryandis Rubin

January 2003
ISBN: 1-59279-963-9
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Judging Ellie looks at the world of the military, drugs, and a daring game of deception!

Kurt Duncan, Investigator for Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS), is a civilian working undercover on a blackmail scam. Kurt is also a part time actor, which comes in handy when looking for his prime suspect, a tall redhead, in a local Marine bar. Cleverly disguised, he finds said suspect, they share a dance, and arrange a second date.

It’s Eleanor (Ellie) Severance’s birthday, and her friends are treating her to a night on the town! Ellie doesn’t get out much; she’s a homebody by nature, and a Marine Corp court reporter. All work and no play make Ellie a dull girl! Ellie gets all dressed up with the aid of her friend Susan, and dons a red wig for her night on the town! Given the opportunity, Ellie is a knockout, and her new makeover gives her the courage to have a bit of an adventure.

She meets Kurt (who thinks she’s his suspect) incognito, and they plan a date - Kurt thinking she’s a blackmailer, and Ellie thinking he’s a dream come true!

Little do these two know they see each other on a regular basis in the Military courts! They often trade barbs, and antagonize one another to the point of distraction. Kurt picks on Ellie insinuating she’s a “plain Jane”, and she picks right back.

When Ellie’s friend is killed, circumstances spiral out of control for Ellie - Murphy’s Law takes on a whole new meaning in Ellie’s life. As Kurt and Ellie become more deeply involved, will Kurt tell Ellie who he really is? Will Ellie find it in her heart to forgive Kurt and help him catch a killer? Can Kurt convince Ellie that he loves her and not the sexy siren she was pretending to be?

This reader had a fine time with this book! Kurt and Ellie as a couple are downright adorable! The passion the two shared literally gave this book life! Ellie’s makeover was endearing, and gave an already self sufficient woman, a surge of powerful self esteem.

The plot took it’s time, and thickened with each turn of the page. These two authors created a suspenseful, harrowing good time, with mini climaxes throughout the read.

A very fine effort indeed from this duo, giving this reader great pleasure when looking forward to future joint efforts! Murder, mayhem, and the love of two strong characters are the ingredients for Judging Ellie!

Reviewed in February 2003 by Connie.