Manda Scott, Author . Bantam $22.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-553-80267-2

Det. Insp. Orla McLeod goes undercover in Glasgow's underworld, then heads to the highlands with the nine-year-old boy who saves her life. As the novel opens, Orla is about to become the victim of the infamous gangster who brutally murdered her partner, Luke; her only hope is Jamie, who just saw his mother die and is the only one who can identify the killer. Injured in the crossfire, Jamie is taken by Orla and fellow officer Murdo Cameron to her mother's mountain hideaway to recuperate in the care of Orla's friends. But who are her friends? Someone on her team may be working for the other side and her mother's neighbors may not be what they seem. And even Orla's past—including memories of her crusading father's assassination by the Irish villains he tried to put behind bars—is not what she thinks it is. Scott's prose suits her tough yet sensitive heroine and her storytelling is equally unflinching. Graphic violence contrasts with wilderness beauty in a thriller that has plenty of touching moments, as when Orla and Murdo manipulate Jamie's computer records to create an artificial family for him. Scott, whose first novel, Hen's Teeth , was a finalist for the Orange Prize, delivers humane characters and supercriminals, romance without sentimentality, and adventure without easy answers. Orla McLeod's American debut ensures that she will take her place in the top ranks of fictional female detectives. Agent, Jane Judd. National advertising. (Apr. 30)

Forecast:Word-of-mouth should be strong for this hard-hitting, intelligent thriller, which is a perfect match for the PBS Mystery crowd; the stark, sexy cover image won't hurt, either.

Reviewed on: 03/11/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 432 pages - 978-0-307-48883-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 432 pages - 978-0-553-58468-4
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-7553-2903-8
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-552-16871-7
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