ALWAYS A THIEF

Kay Hooper, Author . Bantam $7.50 (336p) ISBN 978-0-553-58568-1

Before Hooper penned single-title paranormal romantic suspense novels, she wrote series romances for Bantam's Loveswept line. In this uninspired offering, she puts her out-of-print Men of Mysteries Past quartet through a sieve, filters out much of the sex and romance and mixes in elements of the paranormal. What's left is a gaggle of flat characters and a formulaic story line that mirrors Hooper's previous book, Once a Thief, the first entry in this "reimagined" series. When the renowned cat burglar simply known as Quinn comes to exhibition director Morgan West for help after being shot, Morgan promptly calls wealthy, no-nonsense Max Bannister, who's preparing to exhibit his family's collection of priceless jewels and art. Max inexplicably rushes to aid Quinn, who we later learn is working for Interpol in order to catch a murdering thief known as Nightshade. The light bantering between Morgan and Quinn adds a touch of romantic tension to this otherwise tame mystery, but the paranormal aspect—Morgan's weak psychic connection to Quinn—isn't likely to satisfy fans of Hooper's more recent novels. Apart from Quinn, Hooper's characters are sketchily drawn, and many readers may find it far too difficult to grasp the intricacies of their relationships without having read the original Loveswept series. (June 3)

Forecast:Fans of Hooper's paranormal thrillers will turn out in droves for this slim offering, but romance readers, particularly those who were disappointed by the lack of sexual sparks in Once a Thief, may opt to borrow rather than buy.

Reviewed on: 05/12/2003
Release date: 06/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 376 pages - 978-0-7540-7390-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 310 pages - 978-0-553-59271-9
Hardcover - 376 pages - 978-0-7862-5535-1
Open Ebook - 204 pages - 978-0-553-89713-5
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