by Jasmine Cresswell

May 2003
ISBN: 1-55166-712-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Mira Books
Mass Market Paperback

When they return from having spent a happy Christmas Day with her parents and numerous relatives, Charlotte Gray has no idea that she’ll wake up the next morning to discover that Dan, her husband of less than seven months has gone, disappeared without a trace! At first she’s completely certain that something very bad has happened to him as in her heart she believes that that could be the only reason for his disappearance. She refuses to even consider it when the weary police detectives suggest that he may have voluntarily walked out on their marriage. The fact that her father is a prominent Des Moines citizen is what makes the police continue their desultory efforts. Then Charlotte’s absolute faith in her husband is severely shaken when she’s informed that Dan had started divorce proceedings against her, even before Christmas! However, a grief stricken and tormented Charlotte has no idea that the worse is yet to come.

The FBI Deputy Director of Counter Terrorism bluntly explains to Charlotte that her ordinary husband Dan is in reality Peter O’Toole, a wanted international terrorist! In that instant, Charlotte’s ever-present optimist dies a quick death. An utterly devastated Charlotte soon moves away from family and friends to Tampa, where she tries to begin anew. But even there her bad luck continues, as she gets kidnapped! Can she trust this stranger who claims to have kidnapped her for her own well-being? Charlotte is unable to fully trust him and at the same time her growing feelings of attraction towards this stranger cannot be hidden! Is this just Stockholm syndrome or something deeper? Either way Charlotte is determined not to be a victim again.

Dead Ringer, with its fast pace, hard hitting story and suspenseful plot really reads like an action movie script, a hit one at that. The story about a woman who unwittingly marries a terrorist is not only very unusual but also greatly probable as events today stand. With more than forty successful books under her belt, author Jasmine Cresswell can be depended on to entertain her readers with refreshingly unconventional storylines; for if the readers remember, her last book The Third Wife dealt with the sensitive and most uncommon topic of polygamy. Charlotte, the heroine of this exceptional book, is totally convincing as the betrayed wife of a terrorist. The emotional roller-coaster ride that she goes through, after the truth about her husband comes out, is poignant and heartfelt. Charlotte wins over the readers not just with her authenticity but also with her courage and determination. There is some romance in the story, though not a lot and suspense is the dominant factor. The plot proceeds at a breakneck speed and takes the readers on a perilous journey of enlightenment through the extremist world of international terrorism, covert ops and conspiracy to beat all conspiracies.

Dead Ringer is provocative, slick and captivating - not to be missed!

Reviewed in March 2003 by Rashmi.

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