cover image Forever After

Forever After

Catherine Anderson, Robinson. Avon Books, $7.99 (448pp) ISBN 978-0-380-79104-0

Unfortunately, a really good book often brings pressure on a writer to produce another--and quickly. It's usually a formula for failure and seems to be what happened with Anderson's latest (after Simply Love). The author seems obsessed with the topic of verbal, sexual and physical abuse in her uneven tale of abuse-victim Meredith Kenyon who defies a court order and flees New York City with her four-year-old daughter, Sammy. She rents a run-down house in the wilds of Oregon, only to discover that her neighbor is the county sheriff, Heath Masters, and his retired canine cop, Goliath. The flaws begin with Goliath, who alternately terrifies and endears himself to Meredith and Sammy, and ends with Heath arresting Meredith, then tossing his career out the window (literally) to join them in their flight. With so many character flaws and unbelievable plot twists, the book feels as if it had been penned under duress. (Apr.)