Running Scared
by Elizabeth Lowell, contemporary (2003)
Avon, $7.99, ISBN 0-06-103108-9

This very formulaic Elizabeth Lowell romantic suspense suggests that the author may be retreading the same old ground one too many times already. Anyone who has read Ms Lowell's last few books can easily guess how the story will progress.

As usual, there's some "unique" exotic item involved. This time, it's all about a valuable Celtic gold piece. The story, as usual starts off with a prologue where someone is mumbling some vague mumbo-jumbo about this Treasure. Cut to the present, where our heroine of course makes the study of this Treasure her expertise. Risa Sheridan knows all about gold. She works for Rarities Unlimited as well for a casino owner, Shane Tannahill, who also happens to be hot, sexy, cold but dangerous, et cetera. There are nasty people chasing after the gold, nasty men wanting to frame Shane, and among it all, Shane and Risa manage to fall in love. Although one would expect that they would at least show a little enthusiasm about falling in love.

Running Scared is far from being unreadable, but at the same time, it's like a lifeless rehash of the author's previous books. The formula is all there, from the treasure to the narrative technique to the long rambling academic treastises on gold and Celtic lore masquerading as conversation. A big minus this time is the author's characters which are barely developed. Risa and Shane are watered down templates from this author's previous books, just change field of expertise. The story is filled with so many characters, most of them just taking up space, but that would still be okay if the conversations between these characters aren't awkward and stilted.

Running Scared drives home that the author, while far from being the King Midas of romantic suspense, strikes an uninspired discordant note with this one. This time, Avon's enthusiastic "the gold standard in contemporary suspense fiction" for the author comes off like a sly dig at the author at her expense, I'm afraid.

Rating: 66

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