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No Good Deed    by Manda Scott order for
No Good Deed
by Manda Scott
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2002 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

No Good Deed falls somewhere between an unorthodox Scottish police procedural and La Femme Nikita. It begins with a cliffhanger in a sordid room where Special Branch officer Orla McLeod lies immobilized, able to hear but not to help as fellow undercover agent Luke is tortured. She escapes a similar fate with the help of nine-year-old Jamie Buchanan, and makes promises to both the living and the dead.

To protect Jamie who can identify a killer, Orla and fellow agent Murdo take him to her mother's cottage north of Fort William, where the 'mountains exploded in the core of his soul and pushed everything else away'. There they teach him survival skills in the snow, and continue their investigation. For it seems that the undercover operation was betrayed from within police ranks.

Orla has a special connection to Jamie, not just because he saved her life, but also because she saw her brother and father murdered when she was a child, in an act of violence in which she and her mother were both badly injured in body and (in Orla's case) spirit. Determined to find Luke's killer and the traitor, Orla goes undercover once more. An escalating series of events includes a spectacular car crash and a kidnapping, with links back to the violence in Orla's childhood .

I had read and enjoyed one other book by Manda Scott; Hen's Teeth, which began her Kellen Stewart series. This novel is in another league, with both thrilling action and a gritty focus on children's recovery from severe trauma. No Good Deed is a brilliant tale of vengeance, forgiveness and love. I recommend it and I plan to read more by its author.

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