cover image Heat


Michael Cadnum, Author Viking Books $15.99 (176p) ISBN 978-0-670-87886-4

Cadnum's latest may not have as much heart-pounding action as some of his previous thrillers (Zero at the Bone; Taking It), but there is plenty of tension. As the story opens, narrator Bonnie Chamberlain, a diver, has just regained consciousness following an accident in the pool at her fancy private school. Bonnie, who has started to entertain dreams about the Olympics, is left with a concussion and serious doubts about future competition. As she fights anxieties about rejoining the team and possibly reinjuring herself, she is hit with a second whammy: her father, a prominent attorney recently remarried to his secretary, is arrested for defrauding clients. While the meshing of two heavyweight traumas is slightly awkward, other aspects of the plot--particularly the change in Bonnie's belief in her father's innocence to her knowledge of his guilt--are compelling. Adopting the laconic style that gives so much of his writing its tough edge and adult flavor, Cadnum challenges readers with hard questions about the nature of fear and of betrayal. Ages 12-up. (Aug.)