Political journalist O'Brien takes on too much too fast in a third novel (after The Ladies' Lunch, 1994, etc.) that's part family drama, part romance, part mystery, with the whole, unfortunately, proving less than the sum of its many parts. Rachel Snow is an attractive but lonely middle-aged Chicago radio talk-show host with a troubled past. Her father may or may not have committed suicide (he was struck by a train) years ago. Her divorce was complicated by her own adultery with a charismatic reporter. Her mother who, like her father, has always preferred silence to confession, fought breast cancer without even telling Rachel, and is now in financial trouble down in Miami. And teenaged daughter Edie is torn between her parents, in love with a boy from the wrong side of the tracks, and struggling with garden-variety adolescent turmoil besides. When Rachel buys and renovates her childhood home, it seems as though she's on the cusp of coming to terms with her history, and when her mother and Edie move into the house with her, life does indeed seem to be taking a turn for the better. Meanwhile, though, the ratings aren't great at her show- -until, that is, a mysterious figure starts calling in, claiming to be the notorious serial killer The Truthseeker. Then all hell breaks loose: former lover Amos, the dashing reporter, reemerges; Jim, Rachel's station manager, reveals that he's infatuated with her; and ex-husband Matt tells her (meaningfully) that his new marriage is on the rocks. Through it all, Rachel struggles to keep a step ahead of The Truthseeker, who appears to be threatening her family's safety. O'Brien knows how to create vivid characters and write believable dialogue. But for the poor, confused reader, Rachel's romantic complications and troubles are diluted by their sheer number.
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