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Ransom River    by Meg Gardiner order for
Ransom River
by Meg Gardiner
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Meg Gardiner's Ransom River is a fast-paced, suspenseful thriller that will keep readers glued to its pages. Lawyer Aurora Faith Mackenzie had never planned to return to her home town of Ransom River, California, but fate has other plans for her.

As a child, Rory shared a nighttime escapade with Seth Colder. They came upon an accident site surrounded by police and fire trucks and saw a man running. That night she knew 'things weren't right' at her own home, but never talked about it with her parents. Her friendship with Seth matured into something deeper, but their relationship ended after his work as an undercover cop resulted in an accident in which she was badly injured. Rory worked overseas for non-profit Asylum Action until its funding was cut and she was cast adrift in Geneva, her only asset an airline ticket home.

Now she's back in Ransom River and has been selected for jury duty in 'the teen burglar execution trial'. While having an affair, two police officers shot and killed an unarmed sixteen-year-old burglar, who just happened to be the son of shady millionaire Grigor Mirkovic. The case starts off with a bang as two men with shotguns hijack the courtroom. As matters progress, the men pick four hostages to take with them, Rory being one of them. She manages to get a message out, that facilitates a SWAT team rescue.

After a video shows that she was not chosen randomly as a hostage, the police suspect Rory of involvement in the crime - what did the gunmen want from her? Her toxic cousins Nerissa and Boone don't help matters. Mirkovic has questions for her. And Seth shows up in her life again, warning her not to trust the local cops who are bent. As tension mounts and violence escalates, it becomes clear that Rory's present danger results from that nighttime incident when she and Seth were children - they need to find out what happened and how both their families are involved.

Rory is a fearless, feisty heroine, determined to do what is right, while juggling her feelings for Seth and her worries about her family. If you're looking for a summer read to lose yourself in as the pages fly by, Ransom River is the one.

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