It was interesting reading Masquerade after Gayle Lynds latest novel The Coil . What makes it interesting was that The Coil was the sequel Masquerade and followed some of the same characters that we first meet in Masquerade . Knowing who the characters are in the second book changed how I viewed them in the first book. This knowledge actually made things more confusing because things did not at first add up. Masquerade marked Lynds first steps into the international spy novel genre, and she gives us a strong, fresh entry.
The idea of a character having amnesia and having to figure out who she (or he) is has been done before in the spy genre (most notably with Ludlum s Bourne Identity ), but this is the starting point for Masquerade . Liz Sansborough has no memory of who she was or what she did. All she knows is that a man named Gordon Taite claims to have been her lover and that Liz is a former CIA agent. Gordon claims to be trying to protect her, and he seems honest, but Liz feels that Gordon is hiding the truth from her. Can she believe him? Was she really a CIA agent? Who is she?
With violence and these questions, we are jumpstarted into Masquerade . It would not be hyperbole to say that Gayle Lynds has written a novel that feels like a race to find out who Liz Sansborough is and why these men are trying to kill/capture her. This is fast paced espionage action with a high body count, and it is an engaging novel all the way through. It seems like a simple enough story at the beginning, but as Liz learns more about who she is and why she is being hunted, the scope of the story expands in ways the reader never expected (or, in ways I never expected). Reading The Coil first did not lessen the impact of Masquerade in any way, but rather it added to the challenge of piecing together bits of the story and what I knew about the characters in The Coil . I may not read many espionage novels, but I know an entertaining, well written story when I see one.