cover image Key West

Key West

Stella Cameron, Cameron. Kensington Publishing Corporation, $23 (404pp) ISBN 978-1-57566-454-5

Steamy, atmospheric and fast-paced, Cameron's romantic suspense novel delivers on all fronts. Wealthy Key West doormat Sonnie Giacano can't remember exactly what happened eight months ago, the night her brash, tennis star husband, Frank, was apparently kidnapped, because she wrecked her car and miscarried her unborn child. Although Frank had just declared his intention to leave her, saying, ""I do not find pregnant women sexy,"" the loss of her baby torments Sonnie. Emotionally scarred, she bartends at a local dive under the caring eyes of Roy Talon. Roy knows Sonnie's tragedy is tangled up with murderous deceptions, and, luckily for her, Roy's brother Chris is a disillusioned former NYPD police officer who retreated to Key West to escape his own nightmarish past. A reluctant Chris is dragged into investigating the case after Sonnie starts hearing voices singing a lullaby, ""Hush little baby, don't you cry.... "" When her husband's brother and her own sister show up on the island with a shrink in tow, it seems the family is conspiring to wangle control of Frank and Sonnie's considerable fortune. Whether the plot is to get Sonnie committed or killed, Chris fights for her life, now believing that Sonnie is both sane and the perfect woman for him. The mysterious voices persist as a fire at Sonnie's house reveals a body, hinting that Sonnie may be more unhinged than her new lover thinks she is. Cameron (French Quarter) makes Sonnie's sanity more questionable with every turn of the page, while depicting Chris's growing conviction that his emotions can't be denied. Subplots involving missing cad Frank, his Jag-driving look-alike brother and Sonnie's cruel sexpot sibling add strength to a solid plot. The elysian Key West setting is dramatized by the hurricane season's menace, but readers will most enjoy the good-guy/good-girl romance that blossoms amid an evil family's convoluted schemes. Author tour. (Oct.)