AN IMAGE OF DEATH
Chicago filmmaker Ellie Foreman specializes in video documentaries, but her career has a way of sliding into harrowing murder investigations, as it does in this powerful tale, the third in the series after last year's A Picture of Guilt . Foreman's receipt of a hand-delivered, unmarked surveillance videotape, apparently showing the cold-blooded murder of a young woman, ensures she gets involved in the police hunt for the woman's killer, if only at the fringes. At the same time, Foreman is filming a documentary for wealthy mover-and-shaker Ricki Feldman, a lady in a position to throw money and opportunities Foreman's way—opportunities that have their own dangers. When the police run out of leads in the murder case, Foreman shifts into high gear and uncovers a web of deceit connected to the break-up of the Soviet Union and the ensuing chaos and crime. Hellmann is adept at welding technical information about film-making, diamond cutting and other arcane subjects to strong characters. With her somewhat disreputable past, Foreman comes across as a complex and flawed heroine, who grapples with issues as large as murder and as mundane as an overdue visit to her father. Foreman's pluck and grit married to Hellmann's solid storytelling should win a growing audience. (Feb. 19)
FYI: Berkley Prime Crime will release the mass-market edition almost simultaneously.