Heather Graham, . . Mira, $6.99 (384pp) ISBN 978-1-55166-812-3

Graham's powerful romantic thriller (after Night Heat, etc.) offers a cool, reasoned look at how Irish-Americans cope with the violence occurring in their homeland. Kelly's Pub, a family-owned establishment in Boston, is ground central for the Kelly family reunion, a St. Patrick's Day celebration and, quite possibly, a terrorist operation. When a cable TV producer, Moira Kelly, brings her boyfriend, Michael McLean, home to meet her family, she immediately senses that something is amiss. Her brother frequently disappears at all hours of the night to meet with his "associates," her father's best friend gives her cryptic warnings and later turns up dead and her ex-boyfriend, Danny O'Hara, seems to be hiding things from her. To complicate matters further, there's a serial killer on the loose who may be connected to the St. Patrick's Day conspiracy that's brewing at the pub. As the suspense mounts and the number of red herrings rises, Danny works to draw Moira away from her picture-perfect boyfriend and rekindle their old passion. The narrative's high suspense and charismatic characters will engage, but an excess of detail occasionally impedes its momentum. Unlike many romantic suspense novels, however, this gripping tale strikes a perfect balance between romance and intrigue. (Oct.)

Forecast:Expect strong sales. Graham (aka Shannon Drake and Heather Graham Pozzessere) is as popular as she is prolific; she's written nearly 100 titles—several of which were Doubleday Book Club and Literary Guild selections—and her first Mira hardcover, Hurricane Bay, is due out in April 2002.