by Joan Johnston

July 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7783-2574-1
Reviewer Graphic Button Mira Books
Mass Market Paperback

Ben Benedict was a former assassin in the military, who is now working for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), which is the largest branch of the Department of Homeland Security. Right now, heís working with the Washington, D.C. Police Department Gang Task Force, with his best friend and soon-to-be brother-in-law until tragedy strikes in a most horrific manner. Now Ben has to see a therapist before they allow him back on the job. Enter Dr. Anna Schuster, Psychiatrist. Anna has some problems that sheís not handling very well, but like Ben sheís become an expert at hiding them!

Anna thinks Ben is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome but trying to get anything out of the man is harder than pulling teeth with a pair of tongs. Heís rude, crude, stubborn but oh, so hot! Once she breaks the Golden Rule, she does get him to open up a bit, but loses all of that when Benís sister gets shot. In the meantime, he needs to get back on the streets to try and determine who, what, when and where a possible bio-attack will take place.

In Joan Johnstonís Outcast she brings together two emotionally, and mentally, wounded people into an unusual situation. I loved the idea of this book until Benís family was brought in, and then it felt more like a Peyton Place than an upstanding Washington, DC political family. I liked Anna and I understood her reasons for doing some of the things that she did. Ben is another story; before the bad things started happening to him, he was a stand-up kinda guy. Afterward is a whole Ďnother ball of wax! He struck out at everyone who tried to help him, including Anna and his family. I understood Benís reasoning to a certain degree, but I feel he wasnít using his head only his heart! Wish I could say that Ben redeemed himself at the end but, to this reviewer, it was too little, too late!

Reviewed in August 2009 by PamL.

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