Jennifer Blake, Author, Heather Graham, Joint Author, Diana Palmer, Joint Author . Mira $6.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-55166-876-5

Romances are ideal for beach reading, especially when they're broken into easily digestible chunks and seasoned with humor, as in these three novellas. The first entry, Blake's "Adam," describes the coming together of Lara Kincaid, a witch, and Adam Benedict, a high-tech information consultant. Although the verbal sparring between the two is entertaining, the story is weakened by a series of implausible situations—not the least of which is the fact that the police ask a civilian to hunt for a murder suspect. There's lots of lighthearted fun in Graham's "A Night in Paradise," in which love blooms between two playwrights whose grandparents have decided to marry. Initially, Max Wulfson mistakes Aurora Beck for a gold-digging, much-too-young bride, but when he learns the truth, he manages to insinuate himself into her life. Law enforcement figures return in Palmer's "Garden Cop," the fast-paced story of vacationing FBI agent Curtis Russell. He comes afoul of his mother's pretty neighbor when he accuses her of growing marijuana and nearly gets himself arrested for destroying one of her tomato plants. Soon he and the feisty gardener, who turns out to be prosecutor Mary Ryan, are stumbling around the neighborhood together in an earnest but clumsy attempt to find a missing federal witness. With its deadpan wit and lively mystery, "Garden Cop" is the most satisfying of the entries, but all three succeed in evoking the ambiance of the sultry South. (June)

Forecast:Given the popularity of the authors and the beach-friendly release date, With a Southern Touch is likely to hit the right note with its target readership.

Reviewed on: 05/13/2002
Release date: 06/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-4592-3574-8
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