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The Timer Game    by Susan Arnout Smith order for
Timer Game
by Susan Arnout Smith
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Grace Descanso is a single mother who has a very demanding full-time job and an equally demanding five-year old daughter, so Grace must remain energetic and creative as she struggles to divide her time between her career and parenting. One of Grace's fun-filled strategies for teaching and entertaining her precocious daughter Katie is what they call the timer game: By using little rhyming verses that include clues to hiding places for Katie's clothes, Grace engages her otherwise reluctant daughter in a fun-and-games race against time to get dressed and ready to go in the mornings.

In her role as a forensic biologist with the San Diego Police Department's CSI, however, Grace is about to be drawn into a different kind of race against time - and this one is not going to be fun-and-games. The chilling nightmare begins shortly after Grace's involvement in a shooting (when Grace was investigating a crime scene and was suddenly forced to shoot and kill the knife-wielding son of a prominent politician). Then, in an apparently unrelated incident - and a parent's worst nightmare - Grace's daughter is kidnapped; the perpetrator(s) of the kidnapping then torment Grace with their own sadistic version of the timer game.

Racing against time to find and save her daughter, Grace must confront issues and people she thought she had left in her past. At the same time, she must contend with a murderous group of people involved in a 'brave new world' of medical research that has gone dangerously and horribly awry.

Explosive and terrifying, The Timer Game, an original novel with provocative themes and compelling characterizations, moves along at a pulse-pounding pace. Filled with stomach-churning images and guaranteed to satisfy readers hungry for a fast and furious thriller, The Timer Game is a commendable debut novel from a writer who knows how to write an entertaining, intelligent, and really good medical thriller.

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