When Dr. Rennie Newton's jury duty on a case involving a contract killer ends in an acquittal for Ricky Lozada, her carefully composed and very private life begins to unravel. First, someone breaks into her house to leave her an anonymous dozen red roses. Then her colleague and one-time rival for the chief of surgery job is murdered in the parking lot of her hospital, which makes her a prime suspect, especially when the police learn that she's killed a man once before. None of that stops Detective Wick Threadgill from falling in love with her; unlike his partner, he's sure that Lozada, not Rennie, is behind Howell's murder. And it soon becomes clear that the killer is so obsessed with Rennie that he'll do anything to have her--including killing again. Brown, master of the romantic mystery, goes into darker territory here, but she handles it with her usual deftness and turns in a well-paced if not particularly heart-stopping thriller with the requisite happy ending for Rennie and Wick. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
Brown's latest thriller pits the infamous Ricky Lozada, an unscrupulous killer for hire, against Wick Threadgill, a wily, disgruntled detective on leave from the force. Threadgill's former partner, Oren Wesley, lures him back with the news that Lozada-against whom Threadgill has a personal vendetta-has murdered a respected doctor. The author ups the stakes by giving Threadgill and the killer the same love interest: Dr. Rennie Newton, a no-nonsense surgeon who unwittingly attracts Lozada's obsessive attention while serving on a jury that acquits him for murder. Newton's secret past raises doubts about where exactly her loyalties lie, and Brown deftly builds suspense around the romantic aspect of her story. She also scores points for her insight into the sociopath's mind, despite a rather facile explanation of how he went bad. (Not everyone with a handicapped younger sibling who gets all the parents' attention ends up a ruthless killer.) Similarly, the underlying reason for Dr. Newton's startling transformation from a young adult who lived on the wild side to a cold, controlled professional is too pat. Worst of all, Brown's prose seems aimed at an audience of eighth-graders, padded throughout with a slew of adjectives, useless descriptions and catch phrases ("Is that your final answer?"). But once things get rolling, the plot crackles with tension moving toward the final showdown between Lozada and Wick. Brown fans will not be disappointed.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.