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Pawn    by Barbara Marjanovic order for
by Barbara Marjanovic
Order:  USA  Can
iUniverse, 2003 (2003)
*   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Donna Lake thought she had met a knight in shining armor in college. Matthew Manchino was everything she had dreamed of ... handsome, rich, and devoted to her. Soon after they marry, things change. Matthew becomes distant, spending a great deal of time with his extended family. He throws parties every weekend for wild, strange people, and Donna is expected to be the perfect hostess, even in the midst of studying for her law school exams. Finally, he shares with her that he belongs to a drug-dealing, arms-trading Mafia family, and has decided to work with the FBI in order to bring the rest of his family down.

On a weekend trip to their lake cabin, Donna is drugged by Matthew's aunt, and awakens to find the aunt dead in the hallway, and Matthew and his uncle gone. Just as she realizes that the cabin is on fire, she is drugged again and taken away. Donna's captors say that they are from the FBI, and that Matthew is not working for them. Since she is dead anyway, they are going to train her as an agent and she will help bring this Mafia family to justice for good. But can Donna trust that these people have her best interests in mind? And are they really from the FBI?

The core story in Pawn is quite good, with an interesting and fast moving plot that grabs the reader's interest. However, there are a great many flaws that should have been caught by an editor - errors in spelling and grammar and phrases repeated, sometimes within the same paragraph. Another issue I had was that the story jumped around so much it was difficult to keep characters (who were not well fleshed out) and plot points straight. Though the novel is intriguing with many unanticipated twists and turns, better editing would have helped to mold the rough materials into an appealing thriller.

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