Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Beyond the Pale by Clare O'Donohue

Clare O'Donohue wrote Beyond the Pale just for me. Well, not really. We've never met, and we hadn't
corresponded before I read this book. But, she sent her two reluctant spies all over Ireland, most of the time to places I've been. It felt as if I was returning to Ireland with the first in the World of Spies mystery series.

Hollis and Finn Larsson are married tenured professors at a university in Michigan. While Finn is content to teach his classes, spend time with his students, and watch baseball games, after fifteen years of marriage, Hollis is bored. She's looking for a little excitement when she agrees to meet an old flame. She knew David Agnelli when they both trained to join the CIA. David worked for the CIA, and now Interpol. Hollis missed Finn, returned and married him. But, David has an offer. It's just that Finn has already turned down the CIA.

He only wants Finn to pretend to be an expert on a Brendan Behan manuscript, pick it up in Dublin, and, hopefully, save an undercover agent's life. For Hollis, it's a chance at excitement. Finn only talked of places because he read about them. Now, Hollis pushes him to go. One adventure. How dangerous can it be? Well, let's see. Their contact never shows. Someone tries to steal Hollis' bag, and she's forced to fight back. And, a gentleman they talk to in the theater is murdered in front of them. The couple is followed, accosted, and forced to continue their "adventure".

And, Hollis? "How could she ever have seen this as a little adventure, a way to re-spark her marriage and feel; if only for a moment, like a woman of mystery?"

There's magic in Beyond the Pale, though. As they run from Dublin to Galway, and end up in the ruins of a castle one night, Finn and Hollis encounter the magic and people of Ireland. The book that starts a little slow, becomes a rapid-paced adventure. The pair find themselves forced to work as a couple, depending only on each other. Think True Lies.

If Nick and Nora Charles became spies, they'd be Finn and Hollis Larsson. Beyond the Pale is for armchair travelers who appreciate some spice with their travels. It's going to be fun to explore Clare O'Donohue's new World of Spies series.

Clare O'Donohue's website is www.clareodonohue.com

Beyond the Pale by Clare O'Donohue. Midnight Ink. 2018. ISBN 9780738756509 (paperback), 360p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


Kay said...

I remember that you said recently that you liked this book. Good to read your thoughts on it. I met the author at Malice, helped with her panel, and then was fortunate enough to get a copy of the book there. Looking forward to reading it. She's guesting on Jungle Red today and I'm pretty sure she said that Argentina would be the next location for the pair. ;-)

Lesa said...

Kay, Thanks for telling me about her Jungle Red appearance. I'll check it out. Really enjoyed this one.