cover image Glass Houses

Glass Houses

Stella Cameron. Kensington Publishing Corporation, $24 (368pp) ISBN 978-1-57566-586-3

Ever-popular Cameron (Once and for Always) executes a tried-and-true formula of romance and suspense and adds a dash of blackmail, Internet hijinks and transatlantic sleuthing with her latest, rollicking novel. Aiden Flynn is an NYPD detective whose social life is the pits; he's a Mustang fanatic and dog lover addicted to the emotional safety of online conversations in place of the dating rat race. He's housesitting a vacationing colleague's orchids when he starts snooping through his absent associate's e-mails. Desperate missives from a London photographer named Olivia FitzDurham catch Aiden's eye. Apparently, Olivia took some photos for a magazine style spread, and soon a man was stalking her, claiming to be from the magazine, clamoring for the negatives and offering a ""kill fee"" for them. Aiden urges her to come to New York City for sanctuary, but not long after her arrival, he finds himself framed as a cop-gone-bad, and the budding romantic duo are forced to take their love on the run. Cameron's characterizations are winning: Aiden is rugged without being annoyingly macho, Olivia is eccentric, self-deprecating yet charming, and there's a pair of bumbling British crooks who are a lethal version of Laurel and Hardy. The Judas character is spotted early on, there's an overlong denouement and some of the dialogue is corny, but these flaws are nothing a good screenwriter couldn't fix: this fast-paced book couldn't be more camera-ready. (Aug.)