cover image Cross Her Heart

Cross Her Heart

Sarah Pinborough. Morrow, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-285679-1

Plot twists take precedence over psychological depth in this uninspired thriller from British author Pinborough (Behind Her Eyes). Single mother Lisa Buckridge, who works for a small recruiting company and lives in fear of someone from her past, devotes herself to her 16-year-old daughter, Ava. In turn, Ava feels smothered by her mother’s monitoring of her life and keeps from Lisa both her decision to lose her virginity to a casual boyfriend—and her obsession with a man she’s only communicated with online. The dark history that Lisa was covering up ends up exposed after Ava, a gifted swimmer, rescues a toddler who fell into a river at a fair in Elleston, England. In her relief at Ava’s safety, Lisa forgets to shield her face from a newspaper photographer, and the published picture leads to a revelation that shatters her connection with Ava. By pulling more than one plot punch, Pinborough weakens the impact of a story line that lacks the originality of her best work, the Thomas Bond novels. Agent: Veronique Baxter, David Higham Associates (U.K.). (Sept.)