Apr 11 2013 8:30am

First Look: Iris Johansen’s Taking Eve (April 16, 2013)

Taking Eve by Iris JohansenIris Johansen
Taking Eve
St. Martin’s Press / April 16, 2013 / $27.99 print, digital

Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan’s mission is to bring closure to families whose loved ones have vanished. She knows their anguish-her own beloved daughter, Bonnie, was taken from her when Bonnie was just seven years old. It is only recently that this mystery was resolved and Eve could begin her journey to peace. Now, Jim Doane wants the same kind of answers that Eve always longed for. His twenty-five year old son may or may not be dead and he has only burned skull fragments as possible evidence. But he cannot go to the police for answers without risking his own secrets and dark past, so instead he chooses a bold step to find the truth-a truth that takes Eve down a twisted path of madness and evil and into the darkest heart of her own history. Doane needs Eve Duncan’s skills and he’ll do anything to get them.

Even if it means Taking Eve.

Iris Johansen fans fans will be happy that Eve and her trusted knights, detective boyfriend, Joe Quinn, and adopted daughter, Jane McGuire, are back. Taking Eve is the first installment in a new trilogy, all of which will be released this year. For those new to the Eve Duncan series, jumping in with this book will be an easy transition. Johansen has provided enough background to catch the reader up to speed without slowing down the pace of the book. Taking Eve is a suspense packed thriller, full of enough twists and turns to keep the reader riveted until the very end. And then, wanting more.

Eve Duncan has been kidnapped by a madman hiding behind the façade of a grizzled, kindly old man. Jim Doane has an agenda. He expects Eve to reconstruct the face of his son, Kevin, who was murdered by a sniper. But what Doane doesn’t tell Eve is that his son was a serial killer. A killer who needed to feed his rage to keep him functioning properly. A killer who preys on young girls. This hits too close to home for Eve. Her daughter, Bonnie, had been kidnapped and murdered.

Evil doesn’t die. Fortunately for Eve, neither does innocence. Bonnie’s untimely death serves a higher purpose. Her spirit embodies all that is good and pure and she has become Eve’s guardian angel. But she struggles to reach out to her loved ones because there is too much darkness keeping her away.

“I don’t want to scare you, but you have to know.” She shook her head as she looked at Eve. “Mama, you know there are things that go bump in the night. Not many that are evil. Occasionally, something slips, or there is a force that carries over. Those are usually taken care of by the natural order. But there’s something helping from your side. Very strong, very powerful.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I don’t know very much myself. I learn more everyday I’m here. It made me afraid when I could see all that darkness heading toward you and couldn’t see any way to help you. I couldn’t even reach Joe. He was too close to you.”

Bonnie finally being able to reach Eve is a turning point. The evil that Bonnie senses is alive and is pushing her away from her mother. Johansen had us believing that Kevin Jelak, who we met in Blood Game, was the monster. But we’ve been given a warning. Something dark and sinister is coming. It has survived Kevin’s death.

Johansen brings the pervasive sense of evil and wrongness to life. The darkness felt almost like a living, breathing entity, an entity that has begun to physically affect Eve. It weakens her.

Johansen has created a conflict much deeper than good versus evil. She has taken us to a spiritual plane, a place where light and dark have the ability to reach out to the living and test their faith.

Eve’s captor, Jim Doane, has carefully orchestrated his revenge and Eve is just a means to an end. Her life is of little value to him. Time is running out for Eve. As the book ends, we are left wondering her faith. Wondering who the monster really is. Wondering what Johansen has in store next.

Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Taking Eve by Iris Johansen before its April 16 release:

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Stephanie is a high school social studies teacher who enjoys escaping from reality with a good book. She is the mom of two energetic sons and when she isn't chasing herself in circles, she can be found lurking on Twitter @KindlesConsort.

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Jordan R
1. jrojrojro
How are the beginning books in this series? Usually, I'm a stickler for reading in order, but I wanted a second opinion.
Stephanie Walters-Rowe
2. StephanieWR
This was the first book of hers that I have read. Although there are several other Eve books, I didn't feel lost when I read this. I, too, typically want to read in order. I will honestly say that you could start the series with this book and not feel lost. Johansen provides enough character/plot background to explain who is who without it bogging down the flow.
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