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Karen E. Olson. Severn, $28.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8532-6

Olson (Shot Girl and three other Annie Seymour mysteries) starts more strongly than she finishes in this thriller about an enigmatic woman in hiding. The 40-year-old person who now calls herself Nicole Jones abandoned her old life 15 years before the book begins. She has exiled herself to Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island, where she works as a bike tour operator. Nicole, who has assumed a new persona along with her new name, has settled into a comfortable routine, hanging out mostly with her closest friend, Steve McQueen (no relation to the actor), who hopes that their relationship will become more than platonic. Gradually, the reader learns exactly what led Nicole to vanish and why she has cut herself off from the outside world. Inevitably, Nicole must deal with the fallout once Steve and the others she has come to know on the island learn that she's been less than honest with them. The character interactions are of more interest than the overly familiar plot. Agent: Josh Getzler, Hannigan Salky Getzler Agency. (Dec.)