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Your Next Breath


Your Next Breath

Iris Johansen’s heroine, Catherine Ling, appears to have no visible flaws. However, she clings to the growing relationship with her son, Luke, with glue-like tenacity. Now, at age 11, Luke becomes a pawn in a high-stakes game of revenge against her. Nine years after his abduction and emotional torture by a Russian gangster, Luke has been found and reunited with his mother. The lost years are gradually being returned under the tutelage of Catherine’s own mentor, Hu Chang. Catherine vows to protect her son by all means possible. A top CIA operative, she can call on multiple resources when a threat arises.

Now a nightmare shares reality when a madman from Catherine’s past rears his ugly head, with his goal being to torture and kill those most important to her. His final coup d’état promises that her next breath will be her last; he plans to inject pain equal to that which he suffered when Catherine shot and killed his voluptuous but sinister wife, Delores Santos. 

"Johansen continues to prove capable of spirited writing, complementary characterizations, rich dialogue and quirky twists."

YOUR NEXT BREATH opens with a murder in Boskar, a remote tribal village in Russia. A tribal chief discovers the body of Olena Petrov, a former prostitute who helped Catherine when she was out on the street. Nearly at the same time, Robert Jantzen, a CIA operative who had worked very closely with Catherine, is murdered following an ambush. And Kirov Slantkey, the informant who helped Catherine free Luke, is shot in the head while riding his motorcycle in Moscow.

In Louisville, Kentucky, Catherine is religious about adhering to the safeguards installed in her home to protect her son. Hu Chang has information about the killings and insists that Catherine compose a list of those closest to her who a killer seeking revenge against her might target. Then it becomes imperative that she identify someone from her past with sufficient hatred to instigate a war of murder against those she cares about.

Johansen enhances the drama with details of Catherine’s ties to each targeted friend. Most have benefited from her heroic rescues, criminal solutions and sheer bravery. The biggest problem for her now is to keep them all safe while ferreting out the monster who threatens her. Santos orchestrates the early kills from his prison cell, with aid from a trusted henchman, Dorgal. A talented sniper falls under his employ as well. Santos’ fangs creep closer to Catherine’s household now encircled with CIA protection. Even her best-trained protectors are not immune to the tentacles he projects.

YOUR NEXT BREATH becomes Johansen’s testament to the validity of a strong woman as her lead character. She exhibits physical and mental strength, wily planning and superhuman loyalty to those she loves, along with a tender side when faced with the possibility that her son may be taken from her again. The mothering instinct guides her every action.

The book spills from within with brilliant, colorful characters both noble and sinister. Johansen continues to prove capable of spirited writing, complementary characterizations, rich dialogue and quirky twists. The element of surprise thickens the plotline when the possibility of a medical miracle is discovered. Johansen drives the simple plot with individuals her readers either love or hate but admire for their tenacity. Catherine Ling should be a mainstay in future thrillers for many years to come.

Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on May 8, 2015

Your Next Breath
by Iris Johansen

  • Publication Date: September 29, 2015
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 1250069467
  • ISBN-13: 9781250069467