Aris Whittier, Author . Five Star $22.95 (273p) ISBN 978-1-59414-178-2

Whittier (The Truth About Being a Bass Fisherman's Wife ) makes a promising fiction debut with a tale of romantic suspense set in the contemporary west. When a serial killer rapes and murders three young women, retired detective Michael Carven hires a new trainer, Jessica Stanson, to run his Montana horse ranch so he can investigate. A young woman with a sunny disposition, Jessica tries to crack the protective emotional shell of the loner Michael. To complicate matters, Jessica fits the profile of the serial killer's victims and becomes the only material witness who can testify to the killer's identity. Frustrated with his lack of progress in solving the crimes, Michael decides to risk using Jessica as bait. The two main narrative threads—the effort to track down the killer and the growing attraction between the well-portrayed hero and heroine—come together only late in the story, giving the book a choppy pace. At times the protagonists behave illogically and secondary characters have no impact on the main action, but despite these flaws, this cross-genre novel should have wide appeal. Agent, Michael Valentino at Cambridge Literary Associates. (Dec. 2)

FYI: Cosmopolitan magazine will publish an excerpt in January.

Reviewed on: 11/15/2004
Release date: 12/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 280 pages - 978-1-4104-0246-2
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