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The Ninth Day    by Jamie Freveletti order for
Ninth Day
by Jamie Freveletti
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2011 (2011)
Paperback, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Biochemist/ultramarathon runner Emma Caldridge always seems to run into trouble - in Columbia in Running from the Devil; and in South Africa in Running Dark. She's back in South America in The Ninth Day, another larger than life, over the top, high octane thriller.

Emma is searching for night-blooming plants and, at the same time, keeping an eye open for signs of drugs or human smuggling in the Arizona desert when she's captured by members of an infamous drug cartel (headed by Eduardo La Valle) and taken into Mexico. Tech genius/MIT dropout/drifter Oswald 'Oz' Kroger has signed up to transport pot from Mexico to Phoenix for La Valle. He's shocked to see Emma brought in and realizes he's in big trouble. Little does he know how much worse it will get.

When La Valle learns that Emma is a biochemist, he orders her to find a cure for a horrific disease that's not only destroying his marijuana crop, but killing his workers. Now his mistress is showing symptoms as well, and La Valle gives Emma nine days to find a cure. If she fails she will die (and La Valle feeds his enemies to his armadillos). The mystery of what caused the terrible contagion - and how it might be stopped - pulls readers' interest through the story.

It takes a while for Emma's friends to realize that she's gone missing, but when they do, they spring into action. Edward Banner, President and CEO of the American security company Darkview, marshalls all his resources. Cameron Sumner saved Emma's life in Running from the Devil, and they rescued each other in Running Dark. He's still chasing her this time, desperate to save her not only from the cartel, but from law enforcement who soon seek her for murder.

The action and violence escalate all the way through, moving from Mexico into and across the U.S., as Emma races against time to save countless lives, including her own. The Ninth Day is the perfect travel read - quick, action-packed and entertaining - and those who want more of Emma Caldridge can dip into the sneak preview of her next adventure at the back of the book.

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