Sandra Brown. Warner Books Inc, $22.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-446-51978-6
The newborn son of the president and the first lady has died suddenly. Was his death a tragic consequence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)-or was it murder? Brown (The Witness) pulls out the stops in this nimbly plotted political thriller that pits a down-on-her-luck TV journalist against a popular chief executive. Barrie Travis is looking for her ticket out of a second-rate Washington, D.C., TV station, but she has a reputation as a screw-up with little credibility. When First Lady Vanessa Merritt hints to her that the baby's death may not have been due to SIDS after all, Barrie has the big story she needs-but who will believe her? Before Barrie can learn more from the First Lady, President David Merritt sends his wife ""into seclusion,"" where she's heavily drugged and kept under close guard. Determined to uncover the truth, Barrie travels to Wyoming to question the man rumored to have been Vanessa's lover and possibly the father of her child, military hero Gray Bondurant. After a sexually charged meeting with the reclusive Gray, the reporter returns to Washington to find her townhouse bombed into rubble and the FBI asking too many questions. Can she, with Gray's help, rescue the First Lady and expose the president's secret? Despite merely serviceable prose, Brown's intricate weave of false leads, sinister motives and long-hidden truths is engrossing. Major ad/promo; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selections; author tour. (June) ~ FYI: Brown, 47, didn't publish her first novel until age 33. She's now written 60 novels, several under the pen names Laura Jordan, Rachel Ryan and Erin St. Claire. In the past five years, 24 of her books have made the New York Times bestseller lists.
Reviewed on: 07/01/1996