Despite crisp prose and sharp dialogue, this latest thriller from Fielding (Tell Me No Secrets) disappoints due to a meandering plot full of implausible twists. Bonnie Wheeler, 34, a suburban Boston high-school teacher with ``cheerleader good looks,'' is contemplating playing hookey to go to Miami for a few days with her TV-director husband, Rod, when his alcoholic ex-wife, Joan, calls to warn that Bonnie and her three-year-old daughter, Amanda, are in danger. After reluctantly agreeing to meet to learn more, Bonnie arrives at the rendezvous only to discover Joan's gunshot, blood-soaked body. A kindly sort, Bonnie winds up asking Rod and Joan's teenagers, Sam and Lauren, to move in with her, Rod and Amanda. When a hooded stranger dumps a pail of blood on Amanda, followed by other threatening events, Bonnie understands the truth of Joan's warning and does some sleuthing to find the murderer. Her unlikely list of suspects includes Rod, who was the beneficiary of Joan's life insurance; Sam and his strange friend, Haze; a fellow teacher; and even her own brother, an ex-con living with Bonnie's estranged father and stepmother. As further deaths follow, suspense builds slowly before peaking in the novel's surprising but unconvincing (for its pseudo-Greek tragic revelation) conclusion. Author tour. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995 Release date: 06/01/1995 Genre: Fiction
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