cover image Illuisons


Janet Dailey. HarperCollins Publishers, $24 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-06-017698-3

Bestselling romance writer Dailey (Notorious) has ventured into the field of suspense, and the result is an uneasy marriage that honors neither genre. Beautiful security expert Delaney Westcott drinks Scotch and travels in a pinstriped jumpsuit, but beneath the hardboiled facade she seems empty rather than hungry, more clueless than guileless. Although sidekick Riley Owens wears his heart on his ruggedly good-looking sleeve, Delaney takes nearly forever to figure out that he loves her and she loves him. She needs almost as long to realize that movie star Lucas Wayen, who has hired her to save him from the murderous passions of has-been actress Rina Cole, has his own dark secrets. Her gig protecting Luke (while protecting herself from his advances) takes her to Aspen, Colo., which just happens to be the hometown of Jared McAllister, the rancher who'd destroyed her soul seven years earlier. When Delaney accidentally kills Susan St. Jacque, Jared's blackmailing ex-wife, we are meant to wonder who set Delaney up and how she'll fare, but the real question is how Susan avoided being murdered sooner. Dailey, whose Calder family sagas are romantic classics, here seems a generation behind the times. The lapses here remind us that other romance writers have learned to incorporate more complexity, real humor and passion. (Apr.)