Maggie Shayne, . . Mira, $6.99 (400pp) ISBN 978-1-55166-737-9

Straight-laced upstate New York news anchor Julie Jones has a deadly secret: 16 years earlier, as a teen runaway named Jewel, she fled the besieged burning compound of fanatic cult leader/drug dealer Mordecai Young, with his hidden fortune and her dying best friend's newborn child. Self-proclaimed "Reverend" Young and the rest of his cult, save two other "favorite" girls, perished in the attack by federal agents—or so Julie always thought. But when a blackmailer threatening to expose Julie is murdered and two former "favorite" girls turn up dead as well, it appears the messianic madman may be after the daughter Julie has raised as her own. Her only ally is sensationalist shock-jock radio reporter Sean MacKenzie, Julie's worst professional rival. Suspense thrums throughout due to Shane's (Twilight Hunger, etc.) seemingly effortless skill at teasing readers with surprising but believable plot turns. Just as suspenseful—in a different, delicious way—is the snappy sparring between the reluctantly paired co-anchors; romantic sparks fly between them as fast as witty insults, making this a tasty, tension-packed read. (Nov.)