CHAINED: A Sam Jones Novel

Lauren Henderson, Author . Crown/Three Rivers $12.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-609-80865-8

Sadistic violence jars in what is otherwise another good-natured romp, Henderson's (Strawberry Tattoo, etc.) fourth to feature New York art chick and sometime sleuth, Sam Jones. In the prologue, Sam, the victim of two of the most inept kidnappers in mystery lore, comes to, chained and handcuffed in a dank, roach-infested cellar. Flashback: Sam is working on a BBC show with a group of what used to be called "bright young things" whose talk is as trendy as it is interminable. (It's no surprise to find the author in her acknowledgments thanking the crew of a BBC TV shoot—one suspects she had such a good time she preferred to write about that rather than tell her story.) Sam is a stand-in for a difficult young actress named Sarah, who has a knack for ticking people off. Sarah's latest enemies are a group of animal rights activists (read terrorists), who start sending her threats in the form of dead animals. Sam, apparently mistaken for Sarah, gets kidnapped. After escaping her captors, Sam returns to the bright young things for many more pages of chat. Eventually, she and her friends decide they ought to do something about those pesky kidnappers. The action speeds up to a clever twist ending, but the dearth of detection will disappoint anyone expecting a more traditional mystery. On the other hand, established Henderson fans, as well as the young and the hip, will find Sam's adventures a hoot. (Jan. 15)

Reviewed on: 11/19/2001
Release date: 01/01/2002
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