cover image Flashpoint


Janice Harrell, Harrell. Simon Pulse, $2.99 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-671-75417-4

Departing from her usual romantic comedies ( Brace Yourself, P.J. ; Andie and the Boys ), Harrell proves her skill in another genre. One night, minutes after a drunken departure from a party, Stephie's boyfriend Matt is dead, the victim of a hit-and-run driver. The grieving girl becomes convinced that the driver was at the party and, police reports to the contrary, doubts that the tragedy was accidental. Her ensuing obsession with Matt's demise subjects Stephie to harassment and near-fatalities--surely the work of Matt's killer, anxious to deter further investigation. Although an accumulation of facts (some out of nowhere) supply a coterie of friends with motives, the culprit's identity is easily pinpointed. But the narrative remains riveting and Stephie, while a distant and understandably troubled character, will gain readers' support. Ages 11-up. (May)