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Review of "The Chase" by Brenda Joyce

885953I first read The Chase in the summer of 2003.  My brother and I had flown out to California to spend our vacation with our dad.  I was only here a few weeks before I stumbled across this book in a Walgreens in San Jose.  It was one of three books I bought there that summer.  I remember sitting on a beach on Half Moon Bay (it was not beach weather despite being August 7th) and reading the scene in which Ian, the hero, tells Claire, the heroine, that he wasn't used to having sex with a screamer.  I was 16 and hadn't read about "screamers" before.  To me, that made The Chase as steamy beach read.

In the 12 years since that first read, I've gone back to Ian and Claire's world several times, but I've never reviewed it.

Claire Hayden was the perfect society wife, but she wasn't happy.  Her husband was rarely around and she couldn't remember the last time they'd had sex.  Plus, he'd been edgy lately.  Deciding to divorce him, she's shocked to find his dead body sitting on a chair on the terrace of their San Francisco home.  She immediately suspects Ian Marshall.  He claimed to be her husband's friend, but there was obvious tension between the two when they met earlier in the night.

Ian Marshall isn't what he seems, but he isn't a killer.  He's a Nazi Hunter, looking for a Nazi spy, who has gone free for almost 70 years.  He believes that the same spy killed Claire's husband and has his sights on Claire.  Despite his better judgement, he allows Claire to tag along on his quest to bring a heinous spy and murderer to justice.

One of the first things I have to mention about The Chase is that it isn't just the story of Ian and Claire.  Alongside their story (the narrative bounces back and forth between 2001 and WWII), taking place in the spring of 2001, readers are introduced to Eddy (Ian's uncle) and Rachel.  It is their story that I've always preferred, although from the very beginning we're told that they don't get their happily ever after.

To be honest, Ian and Claire don't really make sense as a couple.  They fall in love instantaneously and I have to wonder if they're still together in fictional 2015.  It doesn't help that their problems are never really resolved (highlight to read)--Ian believed that Claire's father was the elusive spy and Claire's world will probably never be the same because of it.

In the end, both make accusations and fail to trust each other, but neither apologizes for anything.  We get a pat epilogue, involving a baby and newfound family members.

The other problem I have is the fact that Claire is not a cop.  She's never been involved in law enforcement of any kind, but she immediately thinks she needs to work with Ian to bring down a person that she knows is a cold blooded killer.  And he lets her.  Could you imagine that happening in real life?  I have a feeling that any defense attorney worth their salt would have a field day with that.

As I said, I much preferred Eddy and Rachel's portion of the book, which takes place in 1940.  Joyce's prose is better suited for historical romances and it is clear to anyone who reads these passages.  It is here that her writing flows and the characters truly shine, making me overlook things that I usually hate, including the same kind of insta-love that Claire and Ian fell into in 2001.

The last part of this review is reserved for the e-book version that I purchased in 2009.  The formatting is atrocious and I seriously hope that it has since been re-released because it looks as if it was scanned from a print copy and all mistakes were overlooked.

Three Stars

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