Saturday, November 25, 2000

Margaret Cannon

Death stalks the holidays

The season of long nights and endless shopping is upon us. I've already had my fill of The Little Drummer Boy,so it's time to head for the bookstore and load up on escape reading. Here are some new mystery titles perfect for hunkering down before the fireplace.

The Internet Bride
By Gregory Ward
McArthur & Company,
392 pages

Gregory Ward is a talented author who has lots of plots working in his mind. He also has a gift for creating characters who make those plots live. Unfortunately, he tends to put too much of everything into one book and that makes The Internet Bride a disjointed affair. But if you choose to ignore the subplots (or at least three of them), you will find the sad little saga of Inna Netrova to be excellent reading.

Inna is a former championship gymnast, one of the elite children taken to special "homes" by the Soviet Union for training. But in the New Russia, Inna is just another damaged relic, surviving by theft and prostitution while her lover, Sergei, drifts into a life of petty crime and thwarted wishes. They decide that they can solve their money problems by scamming a Canadian businessman who is searching for a wife.

But Inna and Sergei are simply pawns in games run by several powerful and ultimately evil men.

Ward tells the story through several characters and that keeps the reader off guard, especially when we don't understand the reason for some of the characters — or the abortion-clinic subplot. But as long as Ward sticks with Inna and the men who both lust after her and want to destroy her, he's got a great story going.

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Created: November 26, 2000
Last modified: January 19, 2001
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