Live to See Tomorrow: Iris Johansen
The choices we make in life often set the tone for what happens when things either turn out the right way or don’t. Catherine Ling’s life is often orchestrated and choreographed by the CIA when they need her expertise and she cannot refuse their request. But, Catherine is tough, hard as nails and often has to settle battles within herself in order to survive. Dealing with the kidnapping of her son at the age of 2 and losing nine years with him, her guilt, her overprotective attitude towards Luke, her son often comes off as stifling. But, Catherine’s relationship with Luke is strained just by the fact that she really doesn’t know him as he says within the pages of this book as he is or whom he has turned into. As Catherine is about to find her way to her son and deal with Hu Chang her close friend once more Venable calls and everything changes. Erin Sullivan is a journalist and has been kidnapped by a sadistic killer who will go to definite extremes to extrapolate information from his captive and at any cost. Tortures that are unspeakable, kept isolated in a castle fortress the face that she even survived is a miracle. But, Erin is strong and would not give in to the demands of her captor, Paul Kadmus whose dreams and thoughts were focused on capturing one man: Richard Cameron. Evil and determined to rule a ancient Kingdom called Shambala, Sullivan wears an eight point lotus necklace presented to her in Tibet by someone he thinks is protecting her and might hold the key and all of the answers to Shambhala. But, this is where the story takes on a more dangerous tone as s young village boy is sent to rescue her but instead is shot and killed. Praying for the courage and strength to withstand what Kadmus has in store for her next, little did she know that Catherine Ling was going to rescue her? Choosing to leave her son once more with Hu Chang, changing her plans and her direction, this time the choice she made would endanger more than just her.
Working her way towards her son and Hu Change brings her to Tibet and hopefully a plan that will rescue Erin Sullivan. The journalist is alive but what she went through would remain imbedded in her mind forever. Leaving Luke with Hu Chang and another friend she manages to find Erin but it’s too late for them to extract on time. Finding a cave that would hide them for a while and using the potions that Hu Change gave her she hoped to bring her back to safety and take down this insane man.
Erin is just part of the story as Richard Cameron and his hold on Catherine is another layer of this intricate plot. Together with her son Luke once more she never realized just how powerful a warrior he has become, his acute senses and the fact that he too felt responsible for her in his own way. Stubborn, strong minded and never yielding his position unless forced to by Hu Chang. Luke becomes part of the plan in many ways and their relationship is about to go to another level. While Luke feels responsible for his mother’s safety after having her save him from a demented Russian man that held him captive for 7 years, Catherine’s instincts as a mother shine through.
Paul Kadmus lives in a castle that was once a Buddhist monastery. Possessed with getting Erin back and his hands on Richard Cameron, he will kill, torture, maim and destroy anything and anyone that gets in his way. There are many leaders and dictators that find feel they want to take over the world and rule. Thinking that he was one day dominate an entire area and find Shambhala, Kadmus becomes obsessed with not only Erin but Catherine too. Enter Richard Cameron whose hold on Catherine becomes overpowering for both of them. Entering her mind and giving her directions on how to proceed, their emotional upheaval takes unusual twists and turns and the both admit what they need but not sure for how long. CIA operative Venable plays a minor role in this novel but is the one that send Catherine after Erin. But, Erin has something Kadmus wants and Venable thinks the only way to get her back is to send Catherine. However, Hu Chang is furious and confronts Venable and using his telepathy he connects with Richard Cameron the only person that can protect her and Erin. Erin’s feelings towards Richard are quite powerful and she swears he is someone to trust and will protect her. One look at Catherine and she finds herself constantly being overtaken by Cameron within the recesses of her mind as he guides her during dangerous missions and constantly enters her mind at will.
Imagine the vivid sex scenes created by author Iris Johansen where Cameron infiltrates Catherine’s mind and creates scenes that might not be real but definitely evoke the right response. Some real and some within her mind she becomes equally obsessed with them. But, he is not one to create a permanent relationship and although her wants her badly and will get and take as he states what he wants from her for how long no one knows. Each side at times like a Mexican standoff but wavering and faltering in different directions.
Added in when Erin is saved and they find their way out of the cave little does Catherine know that Luke and Hu Chang arrive in Tibet. Getting to know Luke at this point Catherine realizes that she needs to get to know who he is now and not what he was before. Thinking they are finally safe on the plan an incident occurs and the pilot is taken out by Luke. What happens next will surprise readers as the pilot strikes at Catherine, which is why Luke lashes back.
Things get more than just dangerous as the pilot that helped them escape is attacked and his mother killed. Hoping to extract him safely from the hospital Cameron insists that Catherine come with him and the heat really rises. Shambhala: is it real or is it a myth? A kingdom hidden somewhere in Inner Asia: does it have the riches and treasures that some think they will find there? What is the significance of the eight- sided lotus necklace and why does Erin wear it? Why does Cameron not want her to wear it?
Why is Kadmus searching for the lost city? Having a King Complex and worshipping power is just the start as he set up his headquarters at Daksha. Imagine thinking he might someday rule Tibet and who knows where else. Getting to know Erin more and asking her questions about her relationship with Hu Chang and Cameron enlightened Catherine but Erin refused to tell her everything. Secrets, lies, hidden truths and much more will come out before all is said and done. Lives will be in danger and one 11-year-old boy will test the waters, his mother’s confidence in him, protectiveness and her trust for a man who will remain a puzzle and never really reveal it all.
Two men wanting to control Catherine but only one might succeed but how and why? An ending so explosive and daring that only author Iris Johansen could create it. When all the players come face to face who will live to see tomorrow and who will die? As Kadmus faces off with Catherine what happens will either prove her worth, strength or make her his slave.
As Luke and Hu Chang fight along side Catherine what happens in the end will change all of their relationships forever. Can she understand that her son is way above his years and she needs to trust him more? Can any mother allow an 11-year-old boy to get training that would teach him to kill? Smart, more than just over average probably genius Luke and Catherine just might come to an understanding that neither one quite understands.
Where does she wind up and what about her relationship with Cameron? What happens when he has her future mapped out with him? Taking what they both want from each other will that be enough or will they go their separate ways? What’s next for these two? Only the author knows and she’s not telling. This is Iris Johansen at her best. Suspense, danger, loyalties tested, characters that you will either love or hate, and a plot that will keep you riveted to the printed page until you learn the unexpected ending. Live To See Tomorrow: Who does? Who doesn’t? Read it to find out.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer