Kiss Her Goodbye by Robert Gregory Browne

February 24, 2007
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Kiss Her Goodbye
Robert Gregory Browne

St. Martin Press
02/24/07
Hardcover/304 pages
ISBN: 0-312-35839-3
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". . . part mystery, part soul journey and completely surprising."

Kiss Her Goodbye: A metaphysical mystery tour of the human heart.

A young, fresh-faced pregnant woman strolls into a bank, charming the security guards with her sweet smile. She clutches her swollen belly as pain ripples through her. The older security guard reaches out to help, and her sweet smile turns to a mask of dark determination. She pulls a gun from her purse. The younger security guard moves to stop her, and she ruthlessly kills him. Three men, two in ski masks, soon join the woman and the heist is on. As they go to work, someone trips the silent alarm.

ATF agent, John Donovan, heads a task force that has Alex Gunderson in their sights. Donovan cannot believe a terrorist like Gunderson would bother with a bank robbery. Something isn’t right and soon everything will go horribly wrong.

Gunderson, his pregnant wife Sara, and his two buddies in crime, blast their way out of the bank after releasing the hostages like a herd of stampeding bulls. Tina, another member of the gang, is waiting in a news van at rear of the bank. The chase is on with Donovan soon in hot pursuit.

As Donovan gains on the news van, Gunderson opens the rear doors and lobs grenades at Donovan with a rocket launcher. In a matter of seconds, the van and Donovan’s car are tumbling through a guardrail and down the side of a hill. Tina dies instantly; Sara is seriously wounded. Gunderson is distraught. Carrying his wife, he flees with his buddies before finishing off Donovan whose leg is badly injured. Donovan knows the duel has just begun. Gunderson will want revenge for Sara.

Two weeks later, Gunderson kidnaps Donovan’s estranged daughter from a bus and buries her in the ground with sixty hours of oxygen. Gunderson wants more than revenge, and he plans to die to get it.

What first appears to be a garden variety face-off between a federal agent and a self-styled master criminal soon turns to a riveting metaphysical journey in Kiss Her Goodbye. Robert Gregory Browne’s clichéd and uninspired dialogue in the first few chapters gives way to a speeding ride through hell while the clock ticks relentlessly on.

Kiss Her Goodbye is part mystery, part soul journey and completely surprising. Donovan and Gunderson are at first cookie cutter characters surrounded by stereotypical players on both sides of the law. But Browne sketches out depth and breathes a hint of life into the enmity between these two determined men, both fighting for the people they love. What could have descended to a New Age caricature skims the surface of a very profound scrutiny of the heart, touching on the lengths to which love fuels desire and hope. Starting at a deceptive snail's pace, Browne’s tale rockets to warp speed after the first third of the book, ending with a surprising jolt.
Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell

 

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