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FBI agents Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock must protect a young political speechwriter who has received threats against her life. But they could never guess that the danger is already close to his prey-and about to strike.FBI agents Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock must protect a young political speechwriter who has received threats against her life. But they could never guess that the danger is already close to his prey-and about to strike. Amazon.com Review Rebecca Matlock is in the thick of politics, enjoying her work as a speechwriter for the governor of New York, who’s facing a reelection campaign. What she’s not enjoying are the menacing phone calls from a stranger who refers to himself as "your boyfriend" and warns her that he will kill the governor if she doesn’t stop sleeping with him. Although Becca has never had a sexual relationship with her boss, she is increasingly frightened by the phone calls. The police, who were initially sympathetic to her plight, make it clear that they regard her as a hysteric, even after the stalker murders an innocent bystander to convince her that he means business. Becca seeks refuge in Riptide, an isolated community on the Maine coast, but terror continues to dog her. The skeleton of a woman who may be the missing wife of a college friend is unearthed in the basement of her new house; the stalker tracks her to her chosen refuge; and she is sought by the police and the FBI following an assassination attempt on the governor. With the appearance of Adam Carruthers, a stranger who says he’s her guardian angel but doesn’t tell her who sent him, the plot makes a dramatic right turn that requires a willing suspension of disbelief. It seems that Becca’s father, a high-ranking intelligence officer, went underground when she was a baby in order to protect his family from reprisals by a Soviet agent whose wife he had accidentally killed. Now it’s payback time, as Thomas Matlock calls in his own intelligence community to neutralize the threat on his daughter’s life. All the attendant testosterone speeds up the action and propels it toward a shoot-’em-up conclusion, but it also sacrifices a clearer portrayal of Becca’s feelings about her father’s deception and abandonment. At the same time, the switch from a damsel-in-distress story to a high-velocity espionage thriller relegates the skeleton in Becca’s basement to a secondary plot point that is resolved a bit too tidily. Catherine Coulter is short on character development and explication, but she weaves a suspenseful web of danger and intrigue, and for her many admirers, the fact that there seem to be two novels trying to coexist in one book may not be too much of a good thing. --Jane Adams From Publishers Weekly Trouble, in the form of psychopathic madmen, seems to follow political speechwriter Becca Matlock around like a personal storm cloud in bestselling historical romance (False Pretenses) and thriller (The Edge) author Coulter’s newest suspense novel. When a stalker who calls himself Becca’s "boyfriend" accuses her of sleeping with the governor and threatens to kill his perceived rival if she doesn’t stop, Becca turns to New York’s finest, but the cops repeatedly dismiss her. Worse, when the governor is shot, they assume she’s responsible. With nowhere to turn, Becca retreats to coastal Riptide, Maine, a sleepy community that is also home to her college friend Tyler. But all is not peaceful there either. Tyler’s wife apparently disappeared a while back, the locals think he killed her, and a skeleton falls out of the basement wall of Becca’s rented house. Things get really out of hand when it looks as though Becca’s problems can be traced to an axe-grinding former KGB agent. Although the book’s setting shifts from New York City streets to rural New England, there is little atmospheric detail. The unsettling tone moves from NYPD Blue to Murder, She Wrote with creepy Cold War inflections. But convolution doesn’t camouflage the fact that the heroine has more guts than brains, and the villains are ultimately silly rather than menacing. When Dillon and Sherlock Savich, FBI computer specialists from Coulter’s The Maze, enter the plot, one gets the feeling that the gang’s all here, but the hijinks remain untethered. Only diehard Coulter fans will want to tread water with this one. Doubleday Book Club main selection; 20-city author tour. (July) Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.