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    Review of MALICIOUS INTENT by Maria Pease (see her website)


    Sweetpea Press, December 2005

    Samantha (Sam) Parker works as a freelance paralegal, but she stretches the definition pretty hard, so when a man walks into her office and pays her twenty-five thousand dollars to find out who's following him, she is quick to agree. Twenty-five thousand dollars is real money. Too much money, in fact. There's something wrong with the story and something wrong with the whole setup.

    Calling in help from local private detectives and eventually the FBI, Sam learns that her client may not be the nice guy he pretended to be--and might be involved with an organized crime group. Worse, when Sam is checking out the home her client claimed as his own, she meets a sexy guy--who just happens to be the head of that crime family. Sam can't deny the attraction, but can she really be falling for a gangster? And is that nice-guy act the real Matt, or does is he hiding secrets?

    When the FBI asks her to carry a wire and continue her relationship with Matt, Sam feels trapped--and in danger. If Matt finds her with a bug, she really could be in trouble.

    Author Maria Pease writes with a breezy style that involves the reader in Sam's life, makes us care about her boyfrend dilemmas, concerned about the way her friend's marriage is self-destructing, and really want her to discover that Matt, the gangster leader, really is a knight behind his tarnished armor. I would have liked to see a bit more of a bang out of the bug in Sam's phone, and Sam's relationship with private detective Frank was weird enough that I wanted either more or less of it, but these are minor quibbles. With plenty of plot twists, MALICIOUS INTENT is sure to please.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 2/08/07

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