Desert Heart: 2 (Ellen Martin Disasters) by Mark Lingane

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Desert Heart: 2 (Ellen Martin Disasters) by Mark Lingane

Category: Crime
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson
Summary: Ellen Martin is back for a second outing from one of the most prolific authors around. Fast, action-packed and for the fans.
Buy? No Borrow? Yes
Pages: 282 Date: March 2013
Publisher: Insync Holdings
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0987478658

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Ten years have passed since Chasing Heart and that moment that Ellen Martin met and fell in love with Alex Heart while he was attempting to extricate her from South American impending doom. We now catch up with them to discover that Ellen has ditched Alex, has become a partner in her law firm and is about to fly out to the Middle East for important business negotiations on behalf of a client. Ellen isn't known for staying out of trouble and the Middle East isn't known for its tolerance of the mischievously danger-prone. Therefore it's not long before Ellen needs a rescuer again and, yes, it's reunion time.

Australian author Mark Lingane is one of the most prolific authors in the industry at the moment. In the past 6 months he's treated us to a sci-fi detective noir, that first Ellen and Alex story and now this second adventure. How can someone rattle these off at such speed? Where the Ellen Martin Disasters are concerned, Mark achieves this with an instinctive natural style that comes over as raunchy pantomime (so not for children)/summer lightness to be read as pure entertainment.

As in the case of panto, Ellen, Alex and their supporting cast don't need any depth of character and the odd moment of stereotyping fits in with the mood. Also, again as in pantomime, there are jokes distributed with a scatter gun approach, some working better than others. The wonderful gems of humour include a running gag that actually gets funnier as it goes along (a rare thing in comedy writing) contributing to some laugh-out-loud moments.

Some of the dialogue may appear a bit clunky to begin with as we're brought up to speed but this is a price that we readers are often happy to pay for a sequel that works as a one-off. However, again comparing to pantomime, this doesn't matter because we need to look at the action-seasoned whole.

The nods to popular culture are masterly especially the homage to Reservoir Dogs, The Shining and a particular gag reminding us of the joys of Airplane as well as Mark's trademark song-referenced chapter titles.

As panto polarises the world between the aficionados and the detractors, so will Desert Heart. Personally, although there are moments of welcome escapism in each of the novels, I preferred the first. Having said that, both contain flashes of rarely seen originality, it's just a case of whether it works for you or not.

If this and the first Ellen Martin Disaster appeal because of the rom-com element then we very, very much recommend The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. If on the other hand you're drawn to them because of the light summer action, we suggest Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva.

Buy Desert Heart: 2 (Ellen Martin Disasters) by Mark Lingane at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Desert Heart: 2 (Ellen Martin Disasters) by Mark Lingane at

Buy Desert Heart: 2 (Ellen Martin Disasters) by Mark Lingane at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Desert Heart: 2 (Ellen Martin Disasters) by Mark Lingane at


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