cover image Crystal Clear

Crystal Clear

Jane Heller. Kensington Publishing Corporation, $23 (297pp) ISBN 978-1-57566-257-2

Third eyes, divining rods, vortex sites and aura cleansings all figure prominently in Heller's (Princess Charming) latest romantic comedy, a lackluster travelogue through the foibles and desires of the New Age. With her reluctant fiance, Steven, poised to return to his ex-wife, and with her octogenarian father closer to his TV than he is to her, workaholic Manhattan CPA Crystal Goldstein sets off for Sedona, Ariz., for some R&R at the Tranquility Hotel. There she discovers that her ex-husband, Terry Hollenbeck, has become, after their 20 years apart, the responsible owner of Sacred Earth Jeep Tours, and that he's interested in giving their life together another shot. Unfortunately for Crystal, Amanda Reid, the aspiring ""Martha Stewart of Metaphysics,"" also turns up in Crystal's tour group. But even Amanda's mysterious disappearance can't save the novel: all the info on New Age techniques and the Native American Southwest reads more like Fodor's than fiction. Clunky transitions and chatty digressions slow the pace, creating word jams in what starts out as a lively read. Heller also has a weakness for setting up minor characters as human bowling pins to be scattered by Crystal's superior wit. Straining to pitch a New Age tent over all the genre bases (romance, comedy, mystery), Heller covers none sufficiently. (Mar.)