cover image Sudden Exposure

Sudden Exposure

Susan Dunlap / Author Delacorte Press $20.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-3

Berkeley, Calif., police officer Jill Smith, last seen in Time Expired, turns in another absorbing performance in a case that blends the colorful eccentricities of Berkeley and the drab procedures of law enforcement. Squabbles between aging radical Sam Johnson and former Olympic diver Bryn Wiley leave Jill ``feeling like a playground monitor.'' Sam says Bryn has cut a hole in his fence, while Bryn says Sam has shot holes in her car windshield and is trying to run her health club out of business. Ellen Waller, Bryn's live-in cousin and employee, whose contribution to their home decor is a refinished confessional booth, seems to rise above the ruckus. Then a gunner targets Bryn's car again, killing the person sitting in it. As Jill prods Bryn's neighbors for information, she notices that few of the people surrounding her are exactly what they seem and that one, if background checks are reliable, doesn't even exist. Gradually determining that there's no grudge like an old grudge, Jill provides a stable center that keeps the story on course while its many suspects, who range from odd and harmless to odd and deadly, spin along in their own orbits. Author tour. (Mar.)