Cutter Mallet,
Chasing India
(Bridgeway, 2006)

Cutter Mallet has managed the rare trick of making an action movie in novel format. Chasing India has political intrigue, dramatic chase scenes, cops on the edge, undead voodoo queens and a demonic rabbit. The hero, Ethan Williams, is suitably clean-cut and square-jawed, with just enough of an edge to make his more chaotic actions believable. The token love interest, Rita, is the perfect excuse to radically complicate his life. And the supporting cast, from the ineffective governmental lackeys to Ethan's over-the-top Texan posse, are so well drawn they actually transcend type. The story starts out fast, picks up speed and, to Mallet's great credit, never wastes time trying to be something other than what it is.

So it seems odd that Bridgeway Books is presenting Chasing India as a romance. Sure, the plot revolves around Rita and Ethan's attraction to each other. Sure, the driving force behind every chase scene, wild scheme and showdown is the faith of Ethan's friends that true love is worth sacrifice. But there's just no way Chasing India is a romance. The lovers never suffer from silly misunderstandings. The plot never waits for anyone, even Rita, to sort out their feelings. Mallet even dares to give his tale of star-crossed love an honest-to-goodness, unvarnished, totally deserved unhappy ending.

If you're a veteran hater of the modern romantic genre, don't be fooled. Chasing India is an outright cool story in a rather weak disguise. But fans of true romance may still find that there's something for them: real drama, love beyond first sight and adventure that doesn't need a happy ending to be worthwhile.

by Sarah Meador
3 June 2006

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