Pretend I'm Not Here

by Chris Gavaler

HarperCollins, July, 2002.
Paperback, 320 pages.
ISBN: 0060002530
Subgenre: Romantic Suspense

Pretend I'm Not Here by Chris Gavaler Ashley Farell is a thirty-something New Yorker with a job that most people would envy. She spends many weekends on the island of St. Thomas and works in the glamorous television industry. But Ashley sees it somewhat differently. She works for a less-than-sophisticated show entitled Who Wants to Be a Blind Date, and her island weekends are spent chaperoning hormonally-charged couples while she orders dinner for one. On her latest assignment, Ashley must escort show winners Melissa and Randy on their weekend getaway to a plush island resort owned by the production company. At the airport, Ashely meets a handsome stranger, who also turns out to be staying at the resort. When the notorious estranged wife of a wealthy Mafioso turns up at the resort, things get very strange indeed. First, Ashley finds a dead body on the beach, then she is followed by the local police and the FBI…and the mysterious stranger seems to think she's some kind of expert assassin. Then Ashley is arrested for murder. Could her stranger be the real assassin? And is he gunning for her? And how will Ashley enforce the celibacy rules of the show upon Randy and Melissa if she's sitting in a jail cell?

Pretend I'm Not Here is the debut novel of Chris Gavaler, a major new talent in the comedic romantic suspense genre. The book is written in first person, allowing the reader to hear all of Ashley's irreverent, somewhat neurotic and always hilarious thought processes. Gavaler has a concise, clear and witty writing style which is part urban sophisticate, and all modern, single woman. The author has a way with dialogue and pacing; this is the kind of book that you will immediately become involved with -- and woe betide anyone who tries to distract you as you follow Ashley's adventures in detection, chaperoning, and the pursuit of the perfect man.

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This review was published in the July-August, 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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