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By C. J. Songer

Scribner, (December, 1999) Hardcover, 320 pages. $24.00
ISBN 0-684-85043-5

Reviewed by S. E. Warwick (12/99)

If you like your heroine/sleuths to be frail little things in need of rescue by a big, strong, man, leave this one on the shelf. Meg Gillis can take care of herself very nicely, thank you.

If, on the other hand, you routinely yell "hit him in the head with the frying pan," at women in movies who are portrayed as being incapable of taking part in their own defense, Meg Gillis is your kind of woman.

C. J. Songer, Gillis' creator and alter ego, is not your average woman either. Aside from working with the Glendale, California police force for several years and being married to a former police detective, Songer has attended some of the most prestigious weapons schools in the country and is classified as a sharpshooter. She has also taken a wide array of self defense classes, including those with Navy SEALs.

This experience, combined with a talent with words, gives Songer's writing an edge that can't be faked.

Gillis, a widowed former L.A. cop and her partner, Mike Johnson, run a security business in Beverly Hills. HOOK begins with a simple service of divorce papers and ends in a morass of international complications. Gillis does have the requisite cop boyfriend but she spends more time trying to avoid his help than soliciting it.

In spite of the weapons, cop talk, action sequences where Gillis gets hit and hits back, she's still very much a woman, worried about how she looks and keeping up with the son of her late husband who lives with his mother.

Songer's matter-of-fact approach to Gillis' job and life make a powerful statement about the lives of modern women. They do all sorts of job, do them well, and still care about home and family.

HOOK is Songer's second Meg Gillis novel and she's a long way from being finished.

BAIT is the first title in this series.

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