cover image Circumstances Unknown

Circumstances Unknown

Jonellen Heckler. Pocket Books, $21 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-78056-2

Although Heckler ( Safekeeping ) identifies the murderer and his intended victim on the first pages of her new mystery, she sustains chilling suspense as the killer's psychotic personality steadily deteriorates. Transplanted New Yorker Tim Reuschel brings his wife Deena and their young son from California to show them the scenes of his childhood. In the city they meet two of his former buddies: Paul Kincaid, a jewelry designer, and Martin Trayne, a courtroom artist who has never recovered from the drowning seven years earlier of his fiancee, Jenny Cunningham, whom all three loved in their youth. Paul trails the Reuschels upstate to Tim's family's summer home, meanwhile planning Deena's death (much the way he has previously stalked and killed many other young women). Overcome by desire for Deena, Paul changes his carefully laid plans and takes another victim, but Deena's suspicions about the death, ruled an accident, doom her anew. Meanwhile Martin, fighting to overcome his despair, finds the clue that ties Paul to the other killings and must convince authorities of Paul's true nature before he claims Deena's life. (Mar . )