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Close-Up    by Virginia Kantra order for
by Virginia Kantra
Order:  USA  Can
Berkley, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Lexie Scott's trusting nature has always annoyed her father; as FBI director he's tried to teach her otherwise but with little success. Lexie has spent her whole life being careful and trying to live up to her father's high expectations. She befriends a man who turns out to be a survivalist. When he kidnaps her to make an example, her father's many warnings come back to haunt her. After Lexie witnesses and photographs a murder at the compound where she's being held, she knows she must escape and bring her evidence to the authorities.

Jack Miller has come to North Carolina to rescue his sister and nephew from Ray Blaine, an abusive man and a dedicated survivalist - the same man who kidnapped Lexie. When he sees Lexie running for her life, Jack helps her hide from the men hunting her. Repeated attempts to re-capture or kill, first Lexie and then both of them, leave Jack and Lexie wondering whom to trust. As they hide out in the woods, their attraction builds. But they know they can't remain hidden away forever. With additional help from sheriff Will Tucker, Lexie returns to the compound to gather more evidence against Ray. Unfortunately, he discovers he's being set up and a dangerous standoff begins, one that neither Lexie nor Jack may survive.

Virginia Kantra has built a solid reputation in category romance and now moves on to her first mainstream romantic suspense in this well-written, nicely paced story. Her presentation of two flawed characters is well done: Lexie is afraid to break out of her well-ordered and quiet life while Jack is punishing himself for losing control after one of his cases came to a horrific conclusion. Unfortunately, the plot Kantra embroils her leads in is somewhat pedestrian, as are the religious zealots who kidnap Lexie. Overall though, Close-Up is a good blend of adventure and romance.

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