Review: Inga C. Ellzey introduces Jewelle Dawson, a woman without a past and an uncertain future, in The Exchange, the first book in a series of romantic suspense novels.
After an injurious warning not to testify, a knife drawn down her cheek leaving a hideous scar and a finger being dismembered, Elinore Hanson testified anyway against the Gambrelini mob family of Chicago. She was immediately put into the Witness Protection Program as Jewelle Dawson and moved to Duluth. After seven years in a lackluster job, her only true friends being John Murray, her Witness Protection officer, and his wife Betty, Jewelle decides she wants more for her life. Against the warnings of John, Jewelle elects to take a month's cruise in the Mediterranean on the luxury liner, Emerald of the Seas, flying to Barcelona where she boards the ship with thoughts of making new friends, having an exciting adventure, and perhaps fitting in a little romance. Little does she know that her assumed persona would innocently and unknowingly be revealed by a new and trusted friend and that word would get back to the Gambrelini don who had never given up his aspiration of finding and killing her for the trouble she had caused his "family."
Jewelle is delighted to be seated at dinner with Frances and Gordon Wakefield from Quebec. Besides celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, Frances, a writer of mysteries, is eager to write her final novel, a mystery involving an intercontinental jewel theft. Also present is Paul Rosini, a handsome widower, who took an immediate interest in Jewelle as she did in him. During the first few days at sea she also meets Max Caldwell, a very wealthy, very attractive gentleman, who shares a mutual interest in her. Jewelle is having the time of her life. But, through a quirk of fate, one of her new friends described Jewelle to another acquaintance who had once been a member of the Gambrelini "family". He notified Gambrelini and plans were immediately set in motion to find the woman now know as Jewelle Dawson. When Jewelle's friend realized what she had done, she gathers all who had came to know and love Jewelle to devise a plan that would save Jewelle's life, yet satisfy Gambrelini that the woman who had caused him so much harm in the past was now dead.
The title of The Exchange has several meanings in the book, not the least of which is the ultimate exchange of Jewelle's old life for her new one. The richly drawn characters come alive, each of the principal ones having memorable attributes. The plots of the jewel theft and the jeopardy surrounding Jewelle are complex but are beautifully woven together. The Exchange is a passionate, suspenseful novel, and, according to the author's website, just the first in a series to feature this intriguing woman.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Exchange.
Acknowledgment: FSB Associates provided a copy of The Exchange for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Exchange: Chicago, Illinois, Duluth, Minnesota, Barcelona, Spain
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The Exchange by Inga C. Ellzey — A Jewelle Dawson Mystery
Publisher: Lambie Books
Publication Date: May 2008
List Price: $19.99