THE SECRET HOUR

Luanne Rice, Author . Bantam $22.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-553-80224-5

When Kate Harris shows up at his door right after someone throws a brick through his window, defense lawyer and single father John O'Rourke can't decide whether she brings help or more trouble. In fact, she brings both in Rice's latest family drama (after True Blue; Summer Light; etc.) set on the Connecticut shore. John's client Greg Merrill, "The Breakwater Killer," on death row for a series of brutal seaside murders, is responsible for both Kate's arrival and the brick: John's neighbors resent his efforts to save the confessed criminal's life, while Kate wants the lawyer's help in determining whether Merrill killed her sister, who disappeared much like the killer's other victims, but whose body has never been found. In her quest, Kate falls not just for John but also for his children, Maggie and Teddy, as they grieve for their mother, recently killed in a car accident. John grieves, too, so bothered by memories of his wife's adultery he does not see what his children see—that Kate is just what the O'Rourke family needs. Familiar Rice themes of sisterhood, loss and the healing power of love are spotlighted, but Rice's interest in the human psyche has its dark side as well, demonstrated by her creation of a rogue psychologist who subverts the ethics of his profession. Since Rice's fiction often serves as beach reading, it is appropriate that the shore scenes, including a cinematic climax in an old lighthouse, should be among the novel's strongest. Rice's heartfelt personal tone and the novel's cunningly deranged villain make this a smooth-flowing and fast-paced effort, with justice served all around at the satisfying if predictable conclusion. (Feb. 4)

Reviewed on: 11/25/2002
Release date: 02/01/2003
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MP3 CD - 978-1-4558-6478-2
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Compact Disc - 978-1-4558-6476-8
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7435-2325-7
Compact Disc - 978-0-7435-2326-4
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Open Ebook - 978-0-553-89722-7
Hardcover - 509 pages - 978-0-7862-5371-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 432 pages
Paperback - 510 pages - 978-0-7540-9314-5
Hardcover - 507 pages - 978-0-7540-1960-2
Paperback - 319 pages - 978-84-666-1396-5
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-4805-2100-1
Hardcover - 9 pages - 978-1-4805-2099-8
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-7499-3428-6
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