Grand Central Publishing
Sept 7th, 2021
High Stakes by Iris Johansen will remind readers how talented she is in writing gripping characters. Per usual, she puts her heroines through the ringer, but has them come out on top and with more strength.
This story has Logan Tanner, a professional gambler, who in the past was an extractor, hired for a job. He has been offered something more valuable than money, information to help find someone to whom he was very close. He agrees to get Lara Balkon and her mother Maria out of Russia and away from a Russian mafia boss.
“Lara is gutsy, has courage and loves her mama. Lara is a pianist who has concluded she will not allow anyone to rule her life. She is strong, talented, athletic, protective, tough, and at times impulsive. She inherited these qualities from her mother, Maria. She is decisive, a mother-bear, brave, and a survivor. I like to watch them use their toughness.”
The author noted, “as with all my villains, he is very bad. He is a nasty fellow. I contrasted him with Tanner, both are gamblers who consider it a game of chance versus a game of strategy. Yet, Tanner will never cheat to win.”
What Tanner did not count on was his feelings. He discovers that Lara is a force to be reckoned with and that he cares deeply for her. Together they must escape the danger as they play a cat-and-mouse game with those intent on doing Lara and her mother harm.
This story will remind readers of the Eve Duncan series with another character Cara Delaney, a gifted violinist. As Johansen is starting to make an orchestra, the music she makes comes to an exhilarating conclusion.