Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Review: No Time to Hide by Rob Palmer

Here's the last Joe Bob Briggs review I'll be doing for the near future, at least. They haven't posted a new review over on the Joe Bob site for over a year now, and I haven't received new books for more than half that time. I'm sorry to see it end.

No Time to Hide by Rob Palmer
Published by Leisure Fiction/Dorchester Pub.
ISBN: 0-8439-5667-4

I actually wanted to like this book better than I did, but I don’t blame writer Rob Palmer for that in the end. It just seems that of the last four books I’ve reviewed this is the third one featuring political turmoil in Cuba as the backdrop. Also, considering the current events taking place on that island the stuff here seems dated.

Psychologist Ben Tennant works for the U.S. Marshals Service as specialist in the Witness Protection Program. It’s his job to see if candidates for the program are psychologically prepared for the types of emotional changes necessary in successfully completing the change to a whole other way of life. If Ben feels the person will simply return to criminal or anti-social behavior they are rejected.

Ben also has a kind of side business, which is known to only a few associates and pretty much ignored by those of his fellow Marshals Service agents who know of it. Under the code name The Laundry Man, Tenant will help people who don’t qualify for the ‘official’ program disappear into another identity safe from those who may be hunting them. Patrice Callan, a con artist is one of those unofficial clients, with whom Ben had spent several months creating a new identity. Unfortunately for Ben, he also found he was falling in love with her. When Patrice disappears Ben realizes that he was also one of Patrice’s cons and she has taken files which reveal the identities and locations of all of his other clients.

When elements of the CIA begin pressuring Ben to turn over Patrice, he finds that several other people including anti-Castro Cubans are seeking Patrice for their own reasons. It’s up to The Laundry Man to help Patrice, despite what she did, and stop what could be an international incident which would take hundreds if not thousands of innocent lives.

Palmer does a good job making Ben someone you like, and even allows some of those on the other side moments of humanity. Sadly, for me, it was Patrice who is the weakest character, so you don’t have as much sympathy for her as you should given the events. Even at the book’s end you get the feeling that things aren’t going to remain quite as sunny as they are. Whether this is setting up a sequel or not, remains to be seen.

I think Palmer has created a very interesting character with Ben Tennant, but I think I’d like to see him in action either before or after Patrice is part of his life.

Two and a half stars
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