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My Hero    by Mary McBride order for
My Hero
by Mary McBride
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Rashmi Srinivas

While other girls in school were thinking about boys, Holly Hicks dreamed of one day producing '60 Minutes'. Born and raised in a rural Texas town, her passion for reading made her an oddity. Her ambitions were ridiculed and judged unnatural, not only by her peers but also by her parents. Now she works for the VIP channel in the Big Apple. Holly's boss gives her the good news that she's been offered a chance to produce one segment of the program 'Hero Week' featuring people who've performed noteworthy deeds. The hero assigned to her is famous Secret Service agent Cal Griffin, who took a bullet meant for the President the year before. Holly's happiness over the fulfilment of her lifelong dream suffers a setback when she discovers that Cal is recuperating in his rural Texas hometown, which is much like her own. So she has to go to Texas, a place that only holds bad memories for her - she'd resolved never to return.

Cal Griffin is a man without a mission. Six months into his rehabilitation, he's still not back to peak physical form. Even now his head injury causes frequent memory lapses, a humiliation beyond bearing to a man of his impeccable past. He drowns his sorrows in Heineken. When he gets the Presidential request to participate in 'Hero Week', he grudgingly agrees. Holly sweeps into Honeycomb, Texas feeling like she left the sun-baked state only yesterday. But this strawberry-blonde with her intelligence, curiosity and openness, is like a breath of fresh air to Cal, who feels rejuvenated. The two of them gradually bring fulfillment to each other. Holly's journalistic penchants frequently land her in trouble and in rescuing her, Cal discovers that he's not, after all, lost his courage. Through Cal and Honeycomb, Holly finds that it's wrong to blame an entire state for the acts of its few narrow-minded citizens, and rediscovers the joy of being there again. At this moment, Cal's wife decides to make a re-entry into his life!

With her first action-packed book Still Mr. and Mrs., Mary McBride swept away readers into a world of love and danger. My Hero repeats the experience. The story is out of the ordinary. The hero, Secret Service agent Cal Griffin is charismatic and courageous, but with weaknesses which make him so much more convincing. Holly is a native Texan whose bitter past has made her view the whole state in a caustic light. They complete and complement each other. The pace is fast in its action-packed scenes but gentle otherwise. The author makes readers feel as if they're in a genuine small town of Texas (where guns are prevalent as the dust), walking quiet streets, and saying Howdy left and right. McBride dishes up an addictive read, well conceived, stylishly written and plotted with a nice twist.
Note: This book will be available in June 2003.

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