Matt Stromsoe is a walking-wounded former cop whose wife and son were killed in a car explosion meant for him. His last chance for salvation is being bodyguard for beautiful TV weatherwoman Frankie Hatfield, who possesses a secret formula for making rain that a sociopathic exec at the L.A. Power & Water wants destroyed. The exec has enlisted the aid of the same vengeful gang leader responsible for the murder of Matts family. Pretty melodramatic stuff. But just as Parkers storytelling skill transforms it into a credible, character-rich novel, Lanes clean, unruffled narration deepens the drama and sharpens its suspenseful edges. The author provides even the least of the participants with rich backstories that Lane smoothly delivers, often employing accents and attitudes that add a needed patina of realism to the scenes. The author and narrator stumble only on a few passages of cute dialogue between Matt and Frankie. But, happily, that is kept to a minimum. Simultaneous release with the Morrow hardcover (Reviews, Dec. 18). (Mar.) .