*Hillhouse, Raelynn. Rift Zone. Forge. August 2004. c.352p. ISBN 0-765-31013-9. $24.95. Fiction.

It’s April 1989: discontented East Germans have plotted to assassinate Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and restore the old order before it’s too late. Meanwhile, Faith Whitney, a smuggler of antiquities, reluctantly agrees to deliver a package to Moscow when the Ministry for State Security (Stasi) hints that they will reveal the whereabouts of her father, long thought dead. However, she soon learns that she is carrying high explosives that can be traced back to the Americans. Aided by a lesbian KGB Colonel and a former boyfriend, a Navy SEAL trained in defusing explosives, Faith must use all her wiles to save her own life and to prevent a cataclysm. Hillhouse’s much-ballyhooed debut is going to create quite a stir, and justly so. Based on her own adventures as a black market smuggler between East and West Berlin and bolstered by meticulous research, the story shimmers with authenticity. An original voice of unusual authority, a resourceful female protagonist, sexual undertones, explosive tension, and tradecraft galore add up to a spellbinding tale. Expect heavy demand, as this appeals to male and female readers alike. Highly recommended.

LJ, 129, no. 12 (July 2004), 70.

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