Linda A. Lavid,
(Aventine, 2005)

In Paloma, Linda A. Lavid has created a story that is as much about the relationship between two people as it is about the plot to kill one of them. After many years watching Paloma Dove from a distance, Max Laurent comes back into her life after news leads him to believe that she is dead. The actual plot against Paloma serves as backdrop for the first half of the story, then comes to the fore again as they trace down the people who want her dead.

There is not a large cast of characters in the book, and the narrative is split between Paloma's and Max's point of view. Paloma is working under her third identity, having gone into protective custody once and then fleeing that life to take up a new one. She also strongly resents Laurent for the roles he has and has not played in her life. Laurent still feels strongly about her and wants to make up for past mistakes. The changes in their relationship keep things moving at times and are the heart of the story.

The fact that the story switches back and forth between Laurent's and Paloma's viewpoints is what allows the plot against Paloma to fade into the background. They are both very focused individuals driven as much by their shared past as the present situation they are in. Most of the secrets that are revealed involve these two and their relationships with each other and others. But when the various secrets of the book come out they are more of an unveiling than a surprise.

Paloma is a pleasant book to read. There is enough mystery and intrigue to keep you interested in the plot, while the characters continue trying to find the answers they need. The storyline is fairly basic and will not leave you needing to keep track of multiple threads for any length of time.

It may be a lazy-day read, but those can be quite fun at times -- and this one is.

by Paul de Bruijn
7 January 2006

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