I picked up Slipstream (Crown/Shaye Areheart, May 16) because most of the action takes place at LAX and we have a number of airport stores. I raced through it in the midst of the holidays, and that's my first endorsement. There's an overarching suspense plot, and then each character has their own conflicts and resolution. One of the most striking things about it is how warm-blooded the characters are. The texture of their daily lives, and the interplay between their stream of consciousness and their actions is unusually authentic. By the end, you are totally invested in them. There's also a lot of very funny social satire, but you just glimpse it out of the corner of your eye. One reader could find it a romp, and another could find it piercingly serious. It hits that hunger for serious but entertaining fiction, which is the hardest to write.