Title: No Easy Target by Iris Johansen
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Romantic Suspense
Length: 349 pages
Book Rating: C
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen returns with another thriller, No Easy Target
Margaret Douglas has worked hard to put her painful past behind her. Raised off the grid in an abusive home, her only escape was the nearby forest where she sought refuge whenever she could. There, in the peaceful woods, she discovered a strange gift: the ability to understand animals and to communicate with them. And so those creatures became her only friends, her only joy during a desolate childhood. Now Margaret wants nothing more than to live a quiet life, close to the animals and under the radar. But her abilities have not gone unnoticed and there are those who would use them for their own purposes. Determined not to be a pawn in anyone’s game, every time someone gets too close, Margaret uproots her life and outruns them.
When John Lassiter breaks into Margaret’s apartment, she vanishes again, but Lassiter has good reason to be persistent. As a CIA operative, he owes his life to his men, one of whom is being held captive by an unrelenting enemy—an enemy who has set his sights on Margaret. Which means that Lassiter must control her to use her as bait.
With danger in hot pursuit, Margaret finds herself matching wits with a man who refuses to stop or be stopped. Turning from the hunted to the hunter, Margaret must use everything she has ever learned to not only survive, but to defeat a great evil. And to prove once and for all that she’s no easy target.
No Easy Target by Iris Johansen is a suspense-laden mystery with a romantic element.
Margaret Douglas has left her troubles behind her, but one phone call changes everything for her. Discovering that a total stranger, John Lassister, has pulled out all the stops in order to locate her, she is afraid that Stan Nicos, a notorious, sadistic criminal, has found her. However, John and his friend and associate Neal Cambry are one step ahead of her and before Margaret can go on the run again, he kidnaps her. Will Margaret convince John to set her free? Or will he follow through with his plan and put in her in extreme danger in the process?
Margaret has a unique ability to communicate with animals which also makes it easy to read strong emotions in humans as well. Now volunteering at a local zoo, she is content with her life when John finds her. Margaret wants absolutely nothing to do with John and his plan which will put her smack dab in the Nicos’ crosshairs. However, in John’s mind, his needs supersede Margaret’s objections and he will go to any lengths to follow through with his plan.
While Margaret is a likable and sympathetic character, the same cannot be said for John. His information about Margaret and her ties to Nicos is superficial and he has a lot of assumptions but very few facts. While he has a good reason for going up against Nicos, his plan to use Margaret to accomplish his goal is unconscionable.
Margaret’s quick about face is unrealistic given her history with Nicos and her subsequent romantic relationship with John falls flat. Despite the suspense element, the novel is extremely slow paced and gets bogged down in endless dialogue. The conversations and inner thoughts of the characters are initially interesting but they quickly become repetitive. The overall plot feels just feels tired and overdone.
No Easy Target has an interesting premise and Margaret is a gutsy heroine. Readers will be left wondering whether or not this is the first installment in a new series from Iris Johansen.