Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bonnie by Iris Johansen made me cry!


I didn’t intend to.  I thought it would be a crazy bullets flying cliffhanger again.  I have been on the trail to find Bonnie with Eve for years.  I came to accept long before that Eve would never find her daughter.  It would always be the motivation for her to keep bringing lost children home.  I cried anyway at the end of “Bonnie”.  Who knew I would need closure as much as Eve did.

These last 3 novels from Ms. Johansen beginning with “Eve” then “Quinn” and finally “Bonnie”  have finished years of searching.  I won’t say how it happens or who took Bonnie all those years ago.  Like Bonnie said, “It doesn’t matter Momma, it never did.”  It will matter to you when you read it.  It will matter that all the pieces finally come together in a crazy puzzle to create a final vision of love and peace. 

Ms. Johansen is one of my favorite writers.  I have been reading her work since the late 80’s.  I think the first one I picked up was “This Fierce Splendor.”  I loved “The Magnificent Rogue.”  Her early works were pure romantic adventure whether they be historical or not.  She writes with a fast paced clarity that puts me in the moment.

When she came out with her first Eve Duncan novel, “The Face of Deception”, I was hooked with the first eraser head pinned to a skull. Eve is a forensic sculptor, the best in the country. She has made this job a calling to bring the missing, especially children, home.  She is a single mom and experienced the worst nightmare any parent can.  Her daughter is abducted.  When it happens the FBI is called in and the lead agent is Joe Quinn.  They fall in love and commit to find Bonnie no matter what. The relationship between Eve and Joe is one of the most real fictional relationships out there. Through the life of the books they have real disagreements that separate them. They hurt each other sometimes intentionally to get back at the other. The relationship changes and grows as they do and it has serious hurdles to overcome.

Iris Johansen’s writing is really clean and crisp.  There are no extraneous thoughts or dialogue.  It is all pure action and feeling.  From the beginning she set it up that Eve had an especially close relationship with her daughter Bonnie even after Bonnie went missing.  She sees her daughter and talks to her.  She thinks it is just her way of dealing with the loss, but is it really?   

This final installment of this story doesn’t tie everything up in a nice pat bow.  There are threads that still need to be tied off and that is great because it means that more books are in the offing that will have new dangers and new arcs.  I see Joe and Eve taking a back seat to the story of Catherine and John Gallo. Maybe Jane Maguire will finally come to terms with her relationship with Mark Trevor.  No matter what, I can count on a pretty good story.

While I think you could read the books, at least the early ones, as stand alone stories the last 5 need to be read in order.  There are a few in the series that I think Ms. Johansen lost her way with the story in an attempt to keep it fresh.  The episodes that focus un her adopted daughter with a strange paranormal cult theme were less than stunning.  By the time she get’s to “Eve” she really has her groove and I loved getting all the backstory of who John Gallo was and how Bonnie came to be.  “Quinn” could have been skipped,(not written),  and nothing would be missed.  “Bonnie”  made me cry.  While nothing is ever perfect there has certainly been more good than bad in this series and I am happy Bonnie has finally come home.

No comments: