Imagine Love

Katherine Stone, Author
Katherine Stone, Author Ballantine Books $22 (0p) ISBN 978-0-449-90830-3
Mass Market Paperbound - 473 pages - 978-0-449-22818-0
Hardcover - 666 pages - 978-0-7838-1700-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-8041-1615-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-517-30090-9
Paperback - 473 pages - 978-0-345-48297-6
Paperback - 392 pages - 978-1-4664-7933-3
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In one of those odd publishing confluences, Stone's (Pearl Moon) new novel is the second of early 1996 to feature a serial killer who slays on Valentine's Day (the other being Tom Savage's Valentine, Forecasts, Jan. 8). It's the first, however, in which a heroine professes expertise in recognizing killers' eyes: ""sometimes glistening, sometimes shimmering with lust, sometimes flat, unseeing and dead."" Thus she can determine that one fellow isn't a homicidal maniac, for though his eyes ""glinted with the unrelenting intensity, there was gentleness as well."" If this sort of writing makes readers want to close their own eyes, they'd better pass on this tale of love lost and found, the plot of which is as overheated as the prose. The story features two ladies in distress. One is the blind Claire Chamberlain, who's in London at the invitation of her long-lost great love, Cole Taylor, now a famous singer. The early part of the novel limns the genesis of their relationship, and of the day Cole, years before that, gave away his little brother to save him from their father's beatings. The other woman in trouble is Claire's (also) long-lost pen pal, Lady Sarah Pembroke, eye-expert and news correspondent, who is targeted by the Valentine's Day murderer. Also on tap are FBI consultant Jack Dalton, who falls in love with Sarah; gifted sculptor Lucas Cain, who harbors a secret involving one of the women; and Lucas's wife, Emma, who doubts his love. What connects everyone to the murderer? If one of them isn't the killer, who is? Does Cole find his brother? Can these hapless souls solve their problems and find happiness? Readers will decide whether the answers are important. (Apr.)
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