*Starred Review* Santa Barbara attorney Evan Delaney is gutsy and tough, but she has a tender side, too. She dotes on her nephew, Luke, who’s staying with her while his fighter-pilot father, Brian, is deployed overseas. (Brian, who’s stationed at the Mojave Desert naval weapons-testing center, China Lake, has been divorced from Luke’s mother, Tabitha, for years.) Evan’s peaceful cohabitation with Luke is thrown into chaos when Tabitha returns to town under the spell of the Remnant, a fundamentalist sect arming itself for the apocalypse with artillery and biological weapons. Tabitha wants Luke back—no questions asked. Brian comes home, and when the sect’s eerie leader is found dead in Brian’s backyard, the career military man is thrown in jail with little hope of release. Evan and her boyfriend, Jesse, come to Brian’s defense, prompting a flood of memories for Evan, who grew up in China Lake. Gardiner, an American who lives in Great Britain, renders a cast of compelling characters and a hair-raising plot that never stops. This is her second novel to be published in the States (after The Dirty Secrets Club, earlier this year); happily for readers, four more Evan Delaney mysteries are slated for release this summer and fall. --Allison Block
'From beginning to end China Lake is a book that no reader of thrillers will be able to put down. Great characters, dynamic plot, nail-biting action -- Meg Gardiner gives us everything.' -- Elizabeth George 'compelling tale, a powerful mix of murder, terrorism and a wealth of dark secrets.' -- Publishing News 'With a colourful cast of richly delineated characters, a protagonist with whom the readers will easily identify -- all big-hearted, quick-tongued and hair-trigger-tempered -- this novel provides a fast-paced ride through some of the more dubious nooks and crannies of the American dream and is an impressive opening salvo by a Surrey-based expatriate who hits the bookshelves running.' -- Maxim Jakubowski, Guardian 'Sure-footed, action-packed' -- Bookseller 'China Lake makes a strong impression. The story grips and Ms Gardiner is a welcome addition to the ranks of American thriller writers.' -- Sunday Telegraph 20020804 'With energetic, punchy prose and a breathless, action-thriller plot, China Lake is an assured debut. Evan Delaney is a great character, and Gardiner is a writer to watch.' -- Manchester Evening News 20020804 'A great first novel. Fast and hard-edged. Buy it, read it' -- Hull Daily Mail 20020809 'Meg Gardiner's writing crackles with energy' -- Writers Forum 20020809 'This is ... a cracker, with memorable characters, memorable lines and a plot that races along to an explosive ending. A great summer read.' -- Huddersfield Daily Examiner 20020809 'Religious fundamentalism, anti-Aids crusaders, nutty relatives, and a Waco-style shootout: they're all here in the exciting mix that Gardiner expertly stirs up. Great stuff.' -- Independent on Sunday 20020809
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