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Mission Canyon: An Evan Delaney Novel    by Meg Gardiner order for
Mission Canyon
by Meg Gardiner
Order:  USA  Can
Signet, 2008 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Mission Canyon, the first Evan Delaney mystery I encountered, has left me keen to find more. Meg Gardiner gives us engaging leads - lawyer/journalist Evan and her younger paraplegic fiancÚ (also a lawyer) Jesse Blackburn - witty dialogue, and an action-packed, twisting plot that delivers surprises right to the end.

Athletic Jesse had been left crippled after a BMW driver ran him down and killed his close friend Isaac while they were biking in the Santa Barbara foothills. An anonymous woman called the police and identified the hit-and-run driver as Franklin Brand, a VP at Mako Technologies, a high profile cybersecurity corporation, whose attorney is Evan's close friend Harley Dawson. Brand fled the country the night of the crash. As this story opens, Jesse and Evan spot Brand in Santa Barbara and soon afterwards he's arrested. Jesse and Isaac's brother Adam both hunger for revenge, though Brand claims he's innocent and is soon released on bail.

As emotions run high, Evan investigates and soon begins to uncover a can of worms involving embezzlement, smurfing, i-heists, Big Brother surveillance, and multiple murders. The FBI is on Jesse's case, while unpleasant villains blackmail him. Two contract assassination specialists (one of them a fashionista) offer Evan help, while pressing her to ghost-write their memoirs. If that were not enough to have on her plate, cousin Taylor, 'the nosiest, talkiest woman west of the Mississippi', shows up in town and launches the bridal shower from hell (Evan wakes up from it in Las Vegas).

Meg Gardiner gives readers quite a ride in Mission Canyon. Her heroine, Evan, has guts, guile, and attitude to spare - all of which she needs in spades this time around. Check out this Evan Delaney series - you won't be disappointed.

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