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By L. J. Sellers

Spellbinder Press, August 1, 2011 ($13.99)
ISBN-10: 0983213852
ISBN-13: 978-0983213857

Kindle Edition: $2.99

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

THE ARRANGER is a futuristic thriller set in the year 2023. Lara Evans is a former Eugene, Oregon cop who now works as a freelance paramedic. She has been training to compete in "The Gauntlet" a national endurance contest where participants are pitted against each other and the clock in solving puzzles, running obstacle courses, and in hand-to-hand combat. (The event reminded me of the Sasuke competitions in Japan that are also televised on U.S. TV as "ninja" competitions.) Lara, being female, shorter, and older than the other competitors is naturally the underdog.

Lara has some personal, psychological "baggage" which leaves her vulnerable. She also seems to be the target of a mysterious assailant who wants her dead. Can she stay in the competition and find out who and why someone wants her dead? She barely glimpsed her assailant in the first attack and she really has nothing to go on. No physical evidence and nothing she can report to the authorities, who probably wouldn't believe her anyway.

Author L. J. Sellers is again in top storytelling form. She quickly draws the reader into the main character's struggle. Readers will care about what is happening to Lara and why. The secondary characters are all well-developed and fully involved in the unfolding of this story. The endurance competition is exciting. The bad guy is creepy and scary and sad. Even though readers may think they know what is going on and what it's all about, there are twists and turns they won't see coming.

Ms. Sellers gets the mix of crime, mystery, and suspense just right.

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