Dead Aim by Iris Johannsen

Book Title: Dead Aim

Author: Iris Johannsen

Book Review. Iris Johannsen is quite a prolific writer. No sooner had I received Dead Aim from the publisher than I was advised of an upcoming Johannsen novel. With such a prodigious output then, it is a surprise to find that she can produce such readable thrillers as Dead Aim.


Dead Aim begins with the collapse at a US dam in Arapahoe Junction, Colorado. Photojournalist Alex Graham and her friend and rescue worker, Sarah Logan, quickly become embroiled in the eye of a storm which has its evolution in corridors of power controlling the US government. On the way, we lose Sarah to hospital (a nice way of getting her out of the picture), and pick up a number of villains and heroes: from the vengeful, Runne Shin and the sinister Petworth, to the world-weary, Judd Morgan.


Although strong on a tight action-packed plot, Johannsen’s faults are in handling dialogue and characters in this novel. Alex “falls” a little bit too quickly for Judd Morgan. Her seething resentment towards him as gaoler being rapidly transformed into a passion transforms her into a figure of animal lust rather than the stuff that we identify as admirable in heroines or protagonists.


Also, in some two-way conversations, it is easy to lose track of which character is speaking. This can be a source of irritation for the reader and, on at least two occasions, I found myself re-reading key dialogues. These are faults which will probably not affect those attracted to thrillers of Johannsen’s genre where action and high paced energy are paramount. With those considerations in mind, one could do a lot worse than to line someone’s Christmas stocking with a copy of Dead Aim.