Burnout

Jeannine Kadow, Author
Jeannine Kadow, Author Dutton Books $23.95 (358p) ISBN 978-0-525-94464-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 432 pages - 978-0-451-19823-5
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Rising young television anchorwoman Lacie Wagner has been plagued by nightmares since the car accident that killed her father and burned and crippled her hands when she was 10. Now it appears that the menacing figure who whispers threats in her dreams may be not only a real person but a sadistic killer who is stalking her and her family. Kadow's second novel (after Blue Justice) begins with the mysterious burnout of a warplane in Alaska and quickly moves to the disappearance of a teenage girl in New York. Lacie's affluent and work-obsessed life turns tragic as she steps into a web woven by a madman who somehow knows every detail of her life and her past. The police seem unable to help, so Lacie opts to go after her mysterious shadower, relying on her own instincts, against her better judgment and in spite of her terrible fear of fire, to get to the bottom of the mystery. Assisting her is Jack Stein, an unconventional and attractive FBI agent. Excepting her protagonist, Kadow's characters seem to exist primarily to move the plot along (for example, Lacie's Uncle Max, who just happens to be a Delta Force commando). The depictions of the stalker's methods (he uses fire as both a threat and a tool) are compelling, if grisly. The story is dramatic, and although too many coincidences help Lacie and Jack unravel a decades-old mystery, readers will be drawn in by some ingenious twists. Ultimately, however, this is a standard vengeance thriller, and one with a very unfortunate tendency toward graphic torture scenes, including some that involve children. BOMC selection. (Mar.)
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