cover image Crosscut


Meg Gardiner. Hodder & Stoughton, $7.99 (438pp) ISBN 978-0-340-82940-0

Evan Delaney is a bit apprehensive about attending her 15-year high school reunion on the Navy base at China Lake, Calif., and with good reason: an alarming number of her classmates have died, in seemingly unrelated ways-""Car crash. ... Pneumonia. ... Cancer. Long Illness. Exposure. ... hospital fire""-and that's before one of the reunion organizers is brutally murdered. As the body count rises, Evan begins to suspect the string of deaths has something to do with her China Lake past. This fourth installment of the China Lake/Evan Delaney mystery series certainly shows the potential for a first-class thrill ride-human characters, an original plot, a crafty scientific angle and some genuine scares (dentophobes, be warned)-but, though a page-turner to the end, its strengths are obscured by too much of each: too many characters, too many backstories, too many twists and too much jargon.