THE UGLY DUCKLING marks Iris Johansen's spectacular hardcover debut.

For quiet, unassuming Nell Calder, life as she knew it came to a chilling halt the night an assassin with a knife closed in. When the carnage was over, Nell's husband Richard and her four-year-old daughter Jill were dead, and Nell's face and body mutilated.

Nicolas Tanek has been stalking his prey for a very long time. One day soon he will have his final confrontation with businessman and cold-blooded killer Philippe Gardeaux. When Tanek rescues what is left of Nell, he gives her a reason to live...Revenge.

What Nicholas doesn't count on is Nell's determination to find and kill the man who viciously murdered her beloved daughter. If Nicholas won't help her, Nell, whose face and body have been restored through surgery, will proceed on her own, but together they double their strength. The ugly duckling has transformed herself into a powerful swan; one who is a match for any man, even Tanek. It will take both of them to penetrate the vast wall of security surrounding the corrupt Gardeaux empire.

The extraordinary Ms. Johansen expertly weaves a gritty and sinister web of deceit and betrayal, where one woman's quest for revenge will take her deep into an evil and corrupt world. Dramatic and thrillingly menacing, THE UGLY DUCKLING showcases Ms. Johansen's unique talents and is sure to bring her to the attention of a whole new mainstream suspense audience. (May, 323 pp., $19.95)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith