Pandora’s Daughter, by Iris Johansen

Pandora’s Daughter combines cloak and dagger, CIA and child traffickers with an ancient ledger that contains the names of an entire lineage with various psychic abilities dating back to the Inquisition in Spain. The main foursome are a  young woman doctor Megan Blair,Grady — a sort of James Bond gun for hire, his friend Harley — the diamond in the rough, and Renata, a young red-headed loner, logical to the extreme and lethal. The villain is Molino, somewhat unhinged since Megan’s mother drove Molino’s son to madness. His empire is built on all the bad stuff — drugs, child trafficking, torture and murder. His second in command Sienna has a more refined sense — of torture.

This version is the unabridged audio book. Again, I spent some evenings sitting in the dark in my car in my driveway because I was at an exciting part and didn’t want to come inside. Last night I broke my rules and brought the discs into my room to listen to as I fell asleep. This evening after my online library studies class I had to finish the tale. I tried to stretch out in my desk chair with both my ginger tabby cats stretched on my lap.

I always like to think about when an author should have ended a book. I think Iris took a bit too much time to tie up all the loose ends. Once the bad guy was done for in the best traditions of Holmes and Moriarty, I was satisfied. The resolution of the story was fairly expected.

A parent might want to preview this before approving it for high school reading. There are a couple steamy love-making scenes, but written from the feminine perspective, so not too graphic. More about racing pulses and to show self-control or not. There is one fairly graphic torture scene and references to rape and torture. I suppose to kids raised on some of today’s T.V. shows like NYPD: Special Victims’ Unit, it probably isn’t all that shocking.

I also like to imagine who I would cast in various parts if Pandora’s Daughter were made into a movie. We might have to make some allowances for varied ages, but I would cast the Allison Scagliotti, the young techie from Warehouse 13 as Renata. If they were closer in age, I would love to cast a younger Harrison Ford as Harley. Megan Blair is blonde and southern, strong but sometimes too empathetic. I can imagine her played by Ellen Barkin, at the age she was when she made The Big Easy. Grady has to be more chiselled and edgy than Harley but with plenty of dangerous sex appeal. Maybe Jeffrey Donovan from Burn Notice could play Grady or Jonathan Rhys Meyers from The Tudors. Have fun with this story and come up with your own ideal cast. If you can think of a good villain to play Molino, an older oily mob boss type, let me know.

Johansen, Iris. (2007). Pandora’s daughter.  Grand Haven, MI: Brilliance Audio. Read by Jennifer Van Dyck. 9 discs: 11 hours of listening. $97.25 Adult Fiction. The link to the book follows. It is also available on the Kindle.


About KLevenson

I am Teacher Librarian at Piedmont High School in the San Francisco East Bay. I am a part time reference Librarian I for the San Francisco Public Library. I have a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from San Jose State and a Teacher Librarian credential in addition to my teaching credential in Science. My first MA was from Harvard in Archaeology. My students teach me something new every time I am with them!
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