cover image Second Love

Second Love

Judith Gould. Dutton Books, $25.95 (551pp) ISBN 978-0-525-93930-6

An Asian drug cartel plagues a beautiful executive in Gould's latest romantic thriller. Dorothy-Anne Hale Cantwell, first met in Texas Born, has a great marriage to dashing Freddie and three adoring children; she is also head of a thriving international hotel conglomerate, the Hale Companies. But she has been singled out by Asian drug lords who want to take control of the Hale chain in a bid to corner the world heroin market. They first dispatch Freddie in a plane crash, then take over Dorothy-Anne's bank loans and cause bacterial outbreaks at two of Hale's luxury hotels. Meanwhile, California state senator Huntington Netherland Winslow III has been making frequent condolence visits, and when Dorothy-Anne discovers the plot against her, she takes refuge in his manly arms. Gould's narrative is chock-full of resourceful, independent women who know how to get what they want under any circumstances. The plot whisks from continent to continent, scandal to scheme, piling on the suspense and romantic complications. Gould's writing is at best pedestrian, with frequent lapses into genre excess, and the narrative looses its fizzle at the end. For her fans, however, this tale of international intrigue has plenty of steamy sex, glamorous locales and seedy underworld maneuvering. (Dec.)