Charlotte Banchi

"The Whole Enchilada"

(Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer JUL 9, 2002)

“’Hell Yes!’, Del shouted to the rain splattered windshield. ’I want the whole enchilada. Plus the sour cream and guacamole. But I always end up with nada.’”

The Whole Enchilada by Charlotte Banchi

Del Herren has not lead the model life. Ever since she left the man she loves, she has been in and out of trouble. One day she is in a terrible auto accident, and her face needs complete reconstructive surgery. Doctor Augustus Cain seems to be her knight in shining armor, paying for her ills and doing the expensive surgery himself. He has placed her in his private clinic, and she can heal in peace. One day she can’t stand the suspense anymore and takes off her bandages. Her blonde hair is now a vibrant red, her blue eyes have been covered over with green contacts, and the face in the mirror is not her own. He then takes her to a party, where he introduces her around as his fiancee, Rachel Logan. Del is not one to keep quiet, and she asks him exactly what he’s about. He explains that he wanted her to have a new life, a fresh start with a new name and face. The world thinks Del Herren is dead. She thinks this is really great, since she’s wanted by the FBI. So what if Augustus is a little creepy, and seems to be trying to train her to be someone else. At least she’s free.

Read excerptUnfortunately Augustus is a little more than just a bit creepy. Curiosity over rides her again, and she breaks into his safe, and discovers that she is not the first woman to leave Cain’s operating table looking like Rachel Logan, and that every one has died. She takes the files and his money and runs away, where she contacts the real Rachel. Rachel has been living a tortured life...terrible calls at odd hours, a stalker who seems intent on her harm, and clouded memories hinting at a terrible past. The two brave woman decide to lead Augustus to her hometown, where a group of childhood friends can help her trap him.

Del Herren is not your typical character. Fiercely independent and wild, she has a habit of making very poor decisions. She’s very blunt and definitely likes to take charge, which actually makes her an interesting character to be with. Her past as a thief and con-woman doesn't detract from her, because she would genuinely like to change. I feel that she grows a lot during this story, which is an important part of successful characterization. Payton Claymore, her ex-love and the father (unknown to him) of her child is a decent character, a little too much on the emotional side. Del was part of a bank robbery that ended in the death of his wife. Del had nothing to do with her death, but he is so angry at her for leaving him in the first place that he blames her for everything. This gets to be a bit of a burden on the reader, who would like to see him get past this instead of talking about it all the time. I far enjoyed John Raines, his under sheriff, more He’s Apache, and his grandfather is named Rains on Mountain, which is where he gets his last name. He is married to her long time friend Anne. The two of them have always believed that Del had nothing to do with Payton’s wife’s death.

The story itself was well done. The settings around Carlsbad, New Mexico was really well drawn, and I felt almost like I had gotten to visit the place. I thought the idea, especially since Del is the type of character she is, worked out in interesting ways.

  • Amazon readers rating: from 8 reviews

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Charlotte Banchi was born and raised in New Mexico and now lives in Southern California with her husband, Michael. About Us | Subscribe | Review Team | History | ©1998-2014