cover image A Stranger's Game

A Stranger's Game

Joan Johnston, Author . Pocket $25 (340p) ISBN 978-0-7434-5438-4

Ten years after Merle Raye Finkel, a terrified runaway girl, is wrongfully convicted of killing her abusive father in bestseller Johnston's exciting seventh Bittercreek romantic thriller (after The Next Mrs. Blackthorne ), Merle's paroled from a youth facility near Austin, Tex., and assumes a new identity as Grace Caldwell. Grace's hunt for the true killer, which involves examining all cases her Austin police detective dad, Big Mike Finkel, left unsolved, leads to a surprising suspect, FBI Assistant Special Agent Vincent Harkness, who's overseeing security for an upcoming visit of the U.S. president to the University of Texas at Austin campus. Grace hooks up with FBI Supervisory Special Agent Breed Grayhawk in hopes of learning more about his boss, Harkness. When Grace's snooping uncovers a diary by Harkness's wife detailing her sex addict antics and worse, Grace winds up accused of plotting to assassinate the president. A less successful subplot about Texas Ranger Jack McKinley, Breed's best friend, provides a cliffhanger that sets up the author's next nail-biter. (Mar.)