MS. SIMON SAYS

Mary McBride, Author . Warner Forever $5.99 (331p) ISBN 978-0-446-61374-3

In this frustrating effort from McBride (My Hero , etc.), the glossy world of Chicago advice columnist Shelby Simon collapses when she becomes the target of a letter bomber. Police lieutenant Mick Callahan drives her to her parents' mansion in the Michigan hinterlands, then stays to keep her safe. Amid rural pleasures, the two fall in love despite the fears Mick carries after being betrayed by both his mother and his late wife. Though others are killed, Shelby encounters little danger until the evening of the local Halloween costume gala, where the culprit makes a final attempt on her life. McBride's letter bomb premise will strike many readers as implausible; her story displays an obvious lack of awareness of how a multi-state letter bombing campaign would play out in the post–9/11 world. In addition, Shelby emerges as smug, controlling and, for an advice columnist, wildly unobservant; among other blunders, she actually draws the bomber—someone she has ample clues to distrust—directions to her hideaway. Although McBride's portrait of the rough-edged yet sensitive Mick is drawn with winning depth and the marital sparring between Shelby's parents is funny and insightful, these virtues fail to offset the story's slapdash plotting and unsympathetic heroine. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/23/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-0-446-51075-2
Open Ebook - 978-0-446-51076-9
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