Hunting Eve is the second book in the Eve Duncan trilogy by Iris Johansen (available July 16, 2013).
Eve Duncan is literally in the middle of a big mess in Hunting Eve, the second book of Iris Johansen’s trilogy. Kidnapped by Jim Doane and forced to reconstruct his son Kevin’s head in Taking Eve, our intrepid heroine is in big trouble. She had angered her captor by tossing the clay head over an embankment and taking off in the woods.
While the good news is that Eve has escaped, the bad news is she’s out in the cold, deep in woods in the Rocky Mountains, with nothing but her will and wits to survive. She’s fighting hunger, the elements, and the demonic voice of Kevin in her head. Doane is stalking her and is close enough she can hear his vapid taunts. All in all, it’s a very unpleasant situation.
Johansen keeps the tension up as the book moves along at a fairly rapid pace. Everyone Eve loves is searching for her in their own way. Kendra Michaels is joined by the somewhat quirky Margaret Douglas; Jane MacGuire, who’s recovering from being shot, is being watched over by Mark Trevor and Seth Caleb; Joe is looking for Zander, who he knows is hunting Doane, so Jane has her own posse out searching for her.
I like all these characters, and Johansen does a superb job of keeping their stories blending with the main story, which is finding Eve. They all come to their own conclusions about locations and situations, but being a master storyteller, Johansen keeps it all on track.
Eve is also on a very personal journey in this story. Her past has always been a big question mark, and she found great success in spite of it. Raised in an Atlanta slum by her drug-addicted mother, Eve assumed she’d never know who her father is, because her mother couldn’t remember. Now Doane is telling her it’s the heartless assassin, Zander, which Eve doesn’t believe.
There’s a lot going on in this second book, but it keeps the tension high and the need to read at the top level. You have to know what’s going to happen next. There’s action in the woods, on the highways, and even in a ghost town. Eve Duncan fans know she can make it through anything, but she faces some huge challenges. Here’s a scene so skillfully written it leaves you breathless:
Darkness had fallen two hours ago, and temperatures were already plunging, but it would get even colder later, Eve knew. She hadn’t caught sight of Doane in the past two hours, and he might have gone back to that warm, cozy house for a while. That was his usual routine. Hunt, wear her down, then go back and rest.
The thought of that warmth and comfort made her even more angry.
Don’t lose her cool.
Cool? Every thought seemed to be temperature-oriented, she thought dryly.
Keep the blood stirring.
She’d make her way to the path that she knew Doane had to take to get to the forest from the factory. It was the best place to ambush him, and her decision was made. She had to get rid of Doane while she was still strong enough to do it. She had no weapons, but she had found another branch and that would do. She could spring out of the underbrush, stun him, then rely on the karate moves Joe had taught her to do the rest.
Could she bring herself to kill?
Don’t think about it. Do what instinct told her to do.
Keep moving. She had to get close enough to that path to have to travel only a short distance before she made herself a shelter for the night.
Her feet felt heavy, leaden. She’d have to rub them when she stopped to make sure the circulation kept the frostbite away.
Twigs and branches were crackling beneath her feet, and she heard the call of an owl in the distance. She had become accustomed to the wild sounds, and they no longer intimidated her. It was the unknown that caused her heart to pound and the blood to chill.
Chill. Another temperature word. She’d better get to a place where she could stop and—
Someone was watching her.
Her pace faltered.
And so did her heartbeat.
Or maybe she’d been wrong about Doane’s temporarily abandoning the hunt. Maybe he’d only tried to deceive her as he had before. He delighted in tormenting her. Or perhaps it wasn’t someone, but something. An animal in the brush or—
Whatever it was, human or animal, it was there. She could feel it.
She looked over her shoulder. She could see nothing in the darkness. Don’t look for shape. Look for movement.
Nothing behind her.
Because it was ahead of her.
Darkness hurtling toward her!
Tackling, taking her down, taking her breath.
Taking her life . . .
We're left with loads of questions, but we won’t know the answers until we read the last book in this trilogy, Silencing Eve, which comes out October 22nd. After reading the end of this book, that feels like a very long time to wait.
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Leigh Neely is a former journalist and editor who now writes fiction fulltime. She and her writing partner, Jan Powell, are anticipating the release of their novel, Second Nature by Neely Powell, soon. They’re currently working on the Connelly Witches Trilogy for Harlequin Digital. She also writes for the popular blogs, womenofmystery.net and for neelypowell.wordpress.com. Her short story, “A Vampire in Brooklyn” is in the anthology Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices.