Monday, August 15, 2011

Flight Risk by Kim Baldwin

Publisher:                 Bold Strokes Books

Flight Risk is standard Kim Baldwin fare - suspenseful, adventurous and romantic. 

Blayne Keller is living a very routine life as a travel agent until the day she accidentally witnesses a murder committed by a Mafia don. Then she has to start running, literally for her life. It becomes clear that the FBI and the Witness Protection Program are not going to be able to protect her after more than one attempt on her life is almost successful, including having a plane blown up around her. That brings in Agent Alexi Nikolos. She can keep Blayne alive to testify if she can just get her to cooperate. The first few days Alexi has to worry about outwitting Blayne's plans to escape as much as she does eluding the men who are pursuing them. Once Blayne accepts that Alexi truly is her best hope for survival, they can focus on that, but then there is another distraction. Blayne and Alexi are being drawn to each other magnetically, which is fine with Blayne, but Alexi is fighting against it as hard as she can. Because of past experience, Alexi cannot accept that she can successfully protect Blayne if they get involved in a relationship and she is determined to keep Blayne alive. As their travels take them across the US and Canada, then into Europe, both women become more frustrated with the impossibility of their situation and the hunters get closer all the time. Which race will be won - the one to keep Blayne safe to testify or the one to control their emotions? Maybe both, maybe neither.

Baldwin knows how to tell a story. Her detail is vivid and creates environments that live within the pages of the book. She's mastered the technique of having tension build in peaks and dips to a final resolution. The conclusion is a tad anticlimactic after the big confrontation, but acceptable, if predictable. Her characters are attractive and appealing and provide just the right amount of sexual tension. 

If anything, Baldwin's stories are becoming perhaps too formulaic. If you've read her other books, you already know the traits of her characters and the basic progression of the story. Flight Risk could just as easily be her first book Hunter's Pursuit.  It's difficult to argue with success however and Baldwin's formula is a success. When you buy one of her books, you may already know what you're getting, but you also know it's going to be well told and entertaining. As a reader, that makes a purchase worthwhile.

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