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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stolen Memory

****½ Stolen Memory by Virginia Kantra. Romantic suspense.

When I loved Virginia Kantra's Close-Up (#5), I started keeping an eye out for her other books. Stolen Memory shows it was a good decision.

Small-town police detective Laura Baker is called to the home of the town's reclusive wealthiest resident, genius Simon Ford. He reports a break-in and burglary--he thinks. He awoke in his office with a lump on his head, his safe open and empty... and no memory.

He reconstructed much of his public and professional life by Googling himself (his name was on the papers on the desk, and his butler called him by name), and learned enough to know that it would harm his business if anyone discovered his amnesia. He also came to the obvious conclusion that since he couldn't remember who'd attacked him, he couldn't trust anyone he apparently knew.

But a police officer who didn't know him--she could be trusted. Not to mention the fact that he was attracted to her. Unfortunately, when his security company's records were checked, the last security guard on the premises, who was now missing, along with a half-million dollars worth of synthetic rubies, was Laura's estranged father, and Laura was removed from the case.

So he convinces Laura to help him by posing as his girlfriend, a fiction that ends up becoming real.

I'm a real sucker for amnesia stories anyway, and this one was particularly well done. Simon, true to his genius intellect (and I'm a sucker for geniuses in stories, too), pursues a logical course of action to reconstruct his life and his work, and to discover who was behind the attack. The amnesia gradually--and realistically--faded, and, again true to his character, there wasn't a whole lot of angst attached. Frustration, yes, but probably because of the more immediate concerns of physical danger and protecting his company, and the distraction of falling in love, he didn't spend a lot of time dwelling on it or feeling sorry for himself.

And, as in the best romances, the hero and heroine don't just solve the immediate problem and fall in love--they change and grow as well. At one point, Laura describes them both as "romantically impaired and relationship challenged"--and they both learn to come out of their shells and reach out to their siblings as well as each other.

I'm definitely going to keep looking for more Virginia Kantra books.

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