Joy Fielding, Author . S&S/Atria $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7434-4625-9

An ending worthy of Hitchcock rewards readers able to weather the false clues and emotional angst of Fielding's latest page-turner. Once again, the bestselling author (Grand Avenue; The First Time; Missing Pieces; etc.) tests the complex ties that bind friends and family, and keeps readers wondering when those same ties might turn deadly. Since Terry Painter's mother died five years before, the single 40-year-old nurse has been renting out the cottage behind her Florida home. When an appealing young woman calling herself Alison Simms arrives from out of town, Terry offers her not only the cottage but also her friendship. Alison pries into Terry's personal belongings, brings home rude young men, tells lies about her job and family and pops up everywhere unexpectedly and uninvited, while Terry's inner critic, in a voice sounding much like her mother's, fuels her suspicions. Threatening phone calls from a man who seems to know a lot about Terry and the tenant who occupied the cottage before Alison add to her growing paranoia. Despite these worries, Terry finds time to get involved with the son of one of her patients, an elderly woman named Myra. Careless, friendly Alison and responsible, guarded Terry are a study in contrasts, but as the novel progresses, Fielding makes it clear that they both have secrets to hide. The brutal denouement will shake readers lulled by the tale's cozy trappings, but those familiar with Patricia Highsmith's particular brand of sinister storytelling will recognize the mayhem Fielding so cunningly unleashes. 7-city author tour. (Aug. 13)

Reviewed on: 07/29/2002
Release date: 08/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 400 pages - 978-0-7434-5134-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 357 pages - 978-0-7434-4864-2
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-7432-5338-3
Compact Disc - 978-0-7927-2962-4
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-0-7927-5207-3
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7927-2961-7
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