Review: Countdown by Iris Johansen

Posted 11 April, 2011 by Amanda / 2 Comments

Countdown by Iris Johansen
Genre: Mystery
Borrowed paperback from the library
Finished reading: 4/9/2011
In six words: Definitely got better as it went

Book Links
Iris Johansen’s website
Amazon: paperback
Add it to Goodreads


“Don’t kill her. She’s no good to us dead.” These words haunt Jane MacGuire after a shocking attack shatters her world in an instant. Was it a random kidnapping attempt–or the countdown to something far more sinister?

Who is after her–and what do they want so badly they’ll kill anyone in their way? That’s what Jane is determined to find out, without the help of the police, the FBI, or her adoptive parents, forensic sculptor Eve Duncan and her husband, Joe Quinn, of the Atlanta PD–because whoever is after her won’t hesitate to hurt those she loves the most. Now Jane will go on the run with the only man who may be more dangerous than those who are pursuing her. A smuggler, a con man, and who knew what else, Mark Trevor had his own mysterious reasons for wanting to keep Jane safe and out of the hands of a killer obsessed with a two-thousand-year-old mystery that could rock the modern-day world.

Orphaned at an early age, Jane grew up the hard way, but she was given a new life, a loving family, and a chance to pursue her interest in one of the greatest archaeological finds ever unearthed. Now someone was trying to destroy that new life before it could even get started. The past is returning withthe kind of vengeance that knows no mercy. The countdown has already begun, and it’s approaching zero faster than anyone thinks.
-from Goodreads

Why I Read This Book and General Thoughts

I picked this book up at the local library as I was wandering aimlessly, trying to get my bearings after realizing that they had moved things around.  I’ve always enjoyed books by Iris Johansen, thought I might have read this book once, but wasn’t sure, so I decided to pick it up to see for sure.  After all, since I was just borrowing the book, it wouldn’t hurt me if I had already read it.  It took me a little to get into the book, but once I did, it was hard dragging myself back out.  I think I skipped over a bunch of books (even though the story is about Jane MacGuire, it’s considered part of the Eve Duncan series, some of which I’ve read, but not to this point).  Surprisingly, it wasn’t as big of an issue as I thought it would be.

A More In-Depth Look

Although there were a few hiccups along the way (such as the overuse of the phrase “play it by ear”), I was in the mood to be entertained, and this book did the trick.  I hate reading other reviews before I write my own, but I made the mistake of doing so for this one.  They weren’t very positive.  Of the complaints regarding the plots – I didn’t feel as if it was far-fetched.  I mean, it was, and likely nothing like that could ever happen, but part of the author’s job is to get you to suspend your beliefs, and get you to believe that whatever is happening in the book is completely possible.  It worked for me.

From the Eve Duncan books that I do remember, Jane MacGuire was a young girl, scarred from her past.  This gave me the chance to see her as a young woman, wise beyond her years.  We also got to [re]meet Mark Trevor.  It appears that the two have a tangled past, but this was my first introduction to him.  I always seem to end up loving the “seemingly-unscrupulous-guy-who-is-really-actually-good” characters.

There was at least one point in the book (which was never addressed at the end) where I was practically shouting at Jane and Eve as to the identity of a reconstructed skull.  I mean, if Jane is supposedly extremely smart, she would have made the connection herself, though she didn’t.

The rest of the remaining side characters were an interesting bunch, and I loved the twist at the very end, and what it now means for Jane.

You Might Enjoy This Book If…

If you’ve read other Eve Duncan/Jane MacGuire books, you’ll probably like this. There are probably better Iris Johansen books out there, though.

Filed under: ESR: 7, Mystery, Review: Amanda, , ,


2 Responses to “Review: Countdown by Iris Johansen”

  1. Stacey

    I just read my first Iris Johanson book after years of my mom saying I’d love them and it was fantastic. I’ll have to check this one out, but maybe I’ll start at the beginning of the series.

    By the way I like the review layout it looks great.

    • Iris Johansen has a lot of good books out there. If you want to try the Eve Duncan series (this particular book seems to be an off-shoot of that series), I definitely recommend starting at the beginning.

      Thanks, Stacey!