July Publications

The unexpected death of client Edgar Henry doesn't prevent detective Gray Hollowell, the hero of Dixie Browning's Undertow, from investigating the possible murder of Edgar's wife, Roxie, which occurred nearly 27 years ago. As Gray's investigation brings him into contact with the clannish Henry family, he becomes enamored with Edgar's fiercely independent daughter, Mariah. The undercurrent of romantic tension between Mariah and Gray is almost tangible, though their relationship rolls into trite territory when she goes boating with her cousin despite Gray's repeated warnings and he's forced to rescue her. While it's unclear how Gray solves the decades-old mystery surrounding Roxie's death, the conclusion is a stunner. (Silhouette, $5.99 304p ISBN 0-373-21831-1)

Karen Kay's passion for Native American lore shines through in Soaring Eagle's Embrace, the newest entry in her late-19th-century Legendary Warriors series (after Lone Arrow's Pride), but her didactic explanations of the Native American way of life can be off-putting. When photographer Kali Wallace and her father arrive at Montana's Blackfeet Reservation to chronicle the customs of the native people, they run up against Soaring Eagle, who distrusts whites but can't help feeling attracted to Kali. It's obvious from their first encounter atop Chief Mountain—a mystical site where the legendary Star Bride goddess and her mortal lover first met—that more than mere attraction is pulling them together, but first they must come to trust one another. Kay's by-the-numbers tale holds few surprises, and her characterizations are inconsistent. Still, those who enjoy fast-moving, fireside fables may find this a passing diversion. (Avon, $5.99 384p ISBN 0-380-82067-6)