CBS News writer and producer Clark (Close to You) returns with a fast-paced but superficial page-turner featuring a down-on-her-luck newswoman and a precocious young boy. Cassie Sheridan's career is flourishing until she reveals on national TV that a serial rapist attacked the FBI director's daughter; the girl commits suicide and Cassie is demoted to a post in Sarasota, Fla. Estranged from her family, she's stuck reporting on hurricanes. But there's another storm brewing: young Vincent Baylor finds a human hand on the beach and takes a ring from the finger, figuring the money will help his overworked mom and sick little brother, but the killer (who also happens to be the rapist) wants the ring back and will kill again to get it. It turns out there were loads of men who might have wanted to harm the victim, porn star Marilee Quiñones, including the smarmy manager of a boy band, an antisocial eye doctor and one of her co-stars. Cassie strikes up a friendship with Vincent that puts her in the path of the killer as a hurricane heads up the coast. Though the plot is brisk and absorbing, it's a bit facile overall and Clark is too heavy-handed with the red herrings. Worse yet, everything is weighed down by clichés and a slack prose style, as evidenced by a profusion of lines like "Yep, life could turn on a dime." Author tour.(Aug.)
Forecast:Clark's fans might be willing to overlook the flaws of her latest and go along for the ride. They can check out a teaser chapter in the paperback of her bestselling Close to You before getting on board.
Release date: 08/01/2002