cover image White Hot

White Hot

Carla Neggers. Pocket Books, $6.99 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-671-56770-5

An investigative reporter and a publicist renew old ties and investigate a series of jewel thefts in this talky romantic suspense by veteran author Neggers (Night Scents). When a scruffy informant tips off Miami Tribune reporter Jeremiah Tabak that Mollie Lavender appears to be the common denominator in a series of thefts at society events in southern Florida, Tabak is intrigued for various reasons. He had a brief but intense affair with Mollie 10 years earlier and they parted on less than friendly terms. Soon they're clashing at every turn, while more valuables disappear, including a necklace ripped from Mollie's throat. The characters discuss at length every development, personal or pilferage, sapping the sense of narrative drive. Also, although Jeremiah is frequently described as a hard-hitting reporter, he doesn't act like one; he neither reports to an editor nor writes anything, and rarely even asks a perceptive question. When the villains finally reveal themselves--neither hero nor heroine makes the discovery--they proceed to discuss at length their motivations, past actions and current options. Despite the title, the story never generates much heat either between its protagonists or in its rather uninvolving mystery. (July)