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SUNDAY, MAY 29, 2005
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COUNTDOWN. By Iris Johansen. Bantam-Dell, 405 pages, $25, hardcover.
New adventures for Jane MacGuire in new adventure

By DeWana Y. Howard
Special to THE DAILY

Author Iris Johansen continues the saga of Jane MacGuire, the adopted daughter of forensic sculptor Eve Duncan and her husband Joe Quinn.

In this book, Jane continues her research into the life of Cira, an actress who lived through the massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. The uncanny thing is how much Jane looks like the ancient actress. In fact, Jane has already survived an attack from a killer who wanted to destroy her because of the resemblance.

After four years, Mark Trevor comes back into Jane's life, bearing a statue of Cira and scrolls written by the actress and her lover.

Trevor is looking for the gold Cira took when she fled Pompeii. Jane dreams about Cira and how she escapes.

The story takes the reader on a journey from Georgia to Boston, from Herculaneum to Idaho, and even to Scotland. Jane also meets Mario, a young Italian student who is translating Cira's scrolls.

In Scotland, she befriends Jock, who has been brainwashed to be an assassin for someone named Reilly, who wants to locate the gold before Trevor finds it. While in Scotland, Jane also learns why she looks so much like Cira.

The book ends without the gold being found, but Johansen leaves the reader wanting to know more about Jane and her adventures.

I recommend this book for those who enjoy a quick, suspenseful read.

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