Friday, September 17, 2010

The Black Madonna

The Black Madonna (Storm Syrrell Adventure Series)The winner of Ted Dekker's Immanuel's Veins T-shirt contest was Grandma7. I'm not sure of the identity of this commenter, so if it's you, please send me an email right away so you can get your prize. Thank you to everyone who entered!

The Black Madonna by Davis Bunn is the second book in the Storm Syrrell series. Storm is still trying to rebuild her antique dealership after the death of her grandfather and imprisonment of her father for his embezzling when she gets a too-good-to-be-true job offer to buy a Russian painting at an art auction. When the buyer pays more than twice what the item is worth, Storm becomes suspicious, and her worries only grow when she is ordered to buy more items at a price a good deal more than their value and pitting her against another dealer who is intent to run her out of business. Raphael Danton, her buyer, is an agent for a mystery man, and has a tragic history that has made him angry at the world until Storm's fiery spirit cracks the shell around his heart. When Storm's life is threatened because of her buys, best friend Emma Webb, a agent for Homeland Security, steps in to help, but Emma's heart is torn by the news that her lover Harry Bennett has been killed by a bomb in the Middle East. Bunn brings back all of the interesting characters from the first book, Gold of Kings, and adds some more fascinating ones. The story is so filled with twists and turns, back-stabbing, assassination attempts, kidnapping, and political machinations that the pages just fly by. Bunn parcels out information to the reader carefully, building suspense and tension to an almost intolerable tautness. Emma is an outstanding character who often beats up the bad guy before the men around her even have time to react, definitely a rarity in adventure novels. The climax is almost anti-climactic after the rest of the thrilling novel, but there is obviously another sequel in the works because the reader is left hanging and worrying about what will happen next to heroine Storm.

Thank you to Glass Road Publicity for providing me with a copy of this book for review.

I'll be starting a new book contest on Sunday, so make sure you come back then!