Mary Jo Putney, Author . Jove $7.50 (340p) ISBN 978-0-515-13545-9

In contrast to the rewarding emotional intensity of Putney's previous romance, The Spiral Path, her latest stumbles under the weight of predictable plotting and a romance that fails to ignite. Corporate attorney Val Covington resolves to turn her life around by starting her own practice and focusing on cases she cares about. While working out of a remodeled church, she meets the troubled but warm-hearted Rob Smith, who arouses both her desire and her innate wariness. He pitches in to help when Val's longtime assistant asks her to save her former lover, who's facing execution for a crime he claims he didn't commit. While the race-against-the-clock plot proceeds by the numbers, Val becomes Big Sister to an emotionally scarred young girl who bonds with her remarkably fast. The romantic relationship, meanwhile, charts a talky course that forces Val to confront some emotional insecurities instilled by her unsupportive father. Along the way, complex problems find glib solutions—in one instance, a teenage mugger reforms after a single lecture—and all loose ends are neatly tied. Putney's fans will enjoy her smooth prose and likable cast of characters, but the serious social issues she tackles cry out for a more honest treatment. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/30/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-1531-2
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4025-9548-6
Ebook - 978-1-61417-050-1
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