cover image Cold Heart

Cold Heart

Lynda La Plante, Lynda L. Plante. Random House (NY), $24.95 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-375-50004-6

Featuring the sleazy Hollywood denizens that La Plante depicts so well, this follow-up to Cold Blood and Cold Shoulder, though enjoyable reading, suffers from a flurry of plot coincidences and an unsatisfying ending. Ex-cop Lorraine Page (last seen in Cold Blood, 1997) is fresh out of surgery and rehab when she gets the first call at her new detective agency. Tinseltown sex kitten Cindy Nathan has found the body of her porn filmmaker husband, Harry, in his Beverly Hills pool and asks Page to prove she didn't do it. All evidence points to Cindy, but Lorraine weeds through the good, the bad and the really nasty in the deceased's circle of ex-spouses and scammed partners, and digs up a private video collection that makes everyone a suspect in wanting him dead. A visit to the police station ignites romance between Page and the new captain, Jake Burton, but few leads on the case. Then an art scam surfaces and Page is hired to track Harry's missing art collection, the bulk of his estate. She visits Harry's surviving first wife, a reclusive feminist artist living on Long Island, and uncovers hot leads, more death and lethal danger that follows her back to the West coast. La Plante's plotting is ragged with loose ends and the novel's conclusion is as familiar as scrambled eggs. But her leads are two raw nerves in search of a synapse and La Plante makes romantic sparks fly between them like few writers can. Agent, Esther Newberg. Author tour. (Mar.)