March Publication

A sequel to Patricia Rice's Almost Perfect, McCloud's Woman throws together TJ McCloud, a callous forensic anthropologist, and flashy movie producer Mara Simon, but inconsistent character development and an overstuffed plot prevent sparks from flaring between the two. Mara's film crew needs access to an ocean site, but TJ's dig site stands in the way. Hoping TJ will give her a break since he used to be friends with her deceased older brother, Mara appeals to him only to be rebuffed. The two eventually fall in lust with each other, but several obstacles stand in their way—including TJ's guilt over Mara's brother's death and his potential involvement in a war crime scandal. The protagonists frequently push each other away and come together again, but Rice gives readers little reason to care for her characters, let alone cheer for their happy ending. (Ivy, $6.99 352p ISBN 0-8041-1982-1)