by Ruth Wind

April 2005
ISBN: 0-373-51352-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Silhouette #38
Mass Market Paperback

Ruth Wind writes the next installment of the Athena Force Adventure series for Silhouette’s Bombshell line. Countdown is a fast-paced race against time. We are taken on one woman’s frantic trek as she tries to stop terrorists from killing hundreds of people.

Kim Valenti makes her living breaking codes for the NSA. A high amount of email traffic has been crossing her desk, and she’s afraid the messages point to another terrorist attack on American soil. Not only does she work for the NSA but Kim is also a part of a secret agency named Oracle. Made up of Athena Academy graduates, Oracle takes information from several different sources to help thwart attacks on innocent people and the misuse of power. Using all her skills and information received from Oracle, Kim breaks the code and informs the authorities that the terrorists will be taking over a TV station.

Soon, Kim discovers the hostage situation is merely a diversion while the real plot is going on somewhere else. She only has minutes to kidnap a FBI explosive expert and get to the airport. Will they be able to defuse the bomb in time or will more Americans die in order to appease the blood thirst of the terrorists?

Though she’s a hero, Kim begins to get the feeling that the airport bomb isn’t the only plot the terrorists have going. She fears an even bigger attack and works hard to break more codes to find out where it will happen. Along with her partner and the same FBI agent she kidnapped earlier, she knows she doesn’t have time for mistakes. Kim has to be at her best to stop the murders of hundreds of innocent lives.

Ms. Wind does a good job in bringing to life the day-to-day struggle of the code breakers on whose intelligence and determination rests so much. Kim proves to be a complex character with depth and her own foibles. Lex, the FBI agent, is tough and macho, but he isn’t afraid to listen to Kim. He’s there to back her up, yet allows her to take her place as his partner. The story moves at a fast pace and comes to a rather quick conclusion. The villains seem a little one dimensional and stereotypical.

Countdown is a roller coaster ride of adrenaline that will leave you sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for the end.

Reviewed in April 2005 by Jenni.

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