Point Blank

Catherine Coulter, Author . Putnam $25.95 (418p) ISBN 978-0-399-15322-8

Coulter's new thriller romance (Blowout , etc.) opens with Ruth Warnecki lost in a cave in rural Virginia while fellow (married) FBI agents Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock are hot on the tail of a psychotic dirty old man (Moses Grace) and his flirtatious teenage partner (Claudia), who've kidnapped a smalltime comedian. Coulter fans know if they suspend belief—really suspend belief—she'll deliver page-turners filled with good guys battling bad guys as well as enjoying domestic tranquility. After Ruth makes it out of the cave, she's cared for by Dixon Noble, the local sheriff and ex-New Yorker with two kids and a missing wife; then Ruth and the gang return to the cave to discover the body of a murdered music student. Lacey and Dillon consult MAX the miracle computer about Moses while Dix introduces Ruth to his domineering father-in-law, Chappy, and musician Gordon, Chappy's geriatric lech of a brother. Coulter alternates between the search for the student's killer and the hunt for Moses, cases tied together only by the FBI agents solving them and the theme of criminally insane grumpy old men. Coulter continues to prove more convincing describing virtue than vice, which means that sympathetic characters and happy endings take precedence over serious detective work. (On sale Aug. 23)

Reviewed on: 07/11/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
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