No One Lives Twice
I’ve read several thrillers and romances set in the highest-ranking circles of government in Washington DC. However, many people seem to forget that there is a vast bureaucracy that keeps that government going. This is the world that Julie Moffett visits in No One Lives Twice and, while her mystery has more of a chick lit twist, I found myself recognizing her characters’ world. Her smart yet goofy characters and easy style kept me turning pages and, while it’s not a perfect book, this caper is a very fun read.
Lexi Carmichael is the stereotypical computer geek and social misfit. However, beneath the fashion disasters and social missteps lies an entertaining narrator. In addition to being highly skilled, she views the world in a way that will make readers enjoy being inside her head. Not surprisingly, her take on life has more than a bit of snarkiness to it, but she’s also a logical thinker and a little more self aware than many similar characters I have read. At the beginning of the book, we learn that Lexi has always loved math, that she is immersed in her job at the National Security Agency, and, while she has a few friends, her social life is fairly nonexistent. Her mother, the ex-beauty queen wife of a Georgetown lawyer, would like to change this, and we get to see one cute if cliched scene in which Lexi manages to escape from a set-up with a very preppy aspiring politician.
Lexi’s life takes a sudden turn when she gets accosted not once, but twice, by armed gunmen. Each man seems convinced that Lexi has received some sensitive papers from a close friend of hers. Lexi has no idea what papers the men have in mind, and when she tries to track down her friend Basia, she cannot reach her. The rest of the story is quite a complicated caper, as Lexi later finds herself in possession of papers that seem to contain a coded message. With the help of her computer genius friends, a gorgeous Irish attorney with a connection to Basia’s papers, and the extremely secretive legendary (at least among computer folks) government agent Slash, Lexi tries to figure out what Basia’s message means so that she can get her home safely.
Even though the story events are completely over the top, many of the characters had believable personalities and so the story world really does work. While I haven’t dealt with too many multinational conspiracies, I have known plenty of federal government workers who remind me in various ways of Lexi and her friends. For that reason, I could connect with the story. In addition, there’s a certain self-deprecating good humor to the writing that makes the narrator’s tone quite likable. The romantic plots centering on Slash and on the attorney Finn Shaughnessy were fun to read as well. It’s obvious that Lexi isn’t terribly confident of herself in romantic relationships, but the interplay between her and Finn and Slash made for some fun reading. Normally, I end up deciding very early who I want the heroine to end up with; However, everyone here is so likable that I had difficulty making up my mind.
While the story does at times rely a little too heavily upon coincidence and things are sometimes a little too hilariously unbelievable, No One Lives Twice is still a very engaging read. The plot timing is good for the most part, and I admired how the author managed to fit such a complicated series of events into a deceptively light narrative. The book flows along with a very light, chick lit-ish tone, but, when I stopped to reflect on it after reading, I could not help noticing just how much plot was stuffed into the novel. If you only like your mysteries gritty, this may not be the one for you. However, if you enjoy a touch of humor with your romance and suspense reading, this is definitely a book to check out.