cover image NEVER LOOK BACK


Linda Lael Miller, . . Atria, $12.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-7434-7048-3

Picking up where Miller left off in Don't Look Now , this sequel sends its heroine—the hard-boiled, whip-smart and very pretty Clare Westbrook—through hell and high water in a bumpy plot designed to showcase Clare's plucky resolve even in the most macabre moments. After setting up a pro bono lawyer's office in an unsavory part of Phoenix, Ariz., Clare receives some creepy visits from a schizophrenic patient of the psychiatrist next door, who spouts strange warnings about dolls. Then Clare finds the patient's body in her pool, discovers another neighbor murdered and stumbles upon mutilated dolls left in her path—and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Assuming the role of protector is Tony Sonterra, Clare's smoldering on-again, off-again lover. Clare's wry humor gives the novel some zing. "It's still early," she says, after Sonterra reassures her that no one is trying to kill her. After a while, though, the calamities lose shock value through sheer repetition, and the end of the novel is tangled in loose ends. As Clare ricochets from mishap to mating dance and back again, she too often leaves us behind, waiting for a defining moment to help make sense of it all. Agent, Irene Goodman. (Aug.)