BALANCING ACT by Anita Richmond Bunkley


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 Bunkley (Starlight Passage, 1996, etc.) has toned down her tendency toward purple prose, but, ironically, while the writing's vastly improved in this new outing, the plot could use some livening up. Elise Jeffries and her husband Blake have been through some hard times; ever since Elise lost her hospital p.r. job in a scandal, the couple has struggled financially and emotionally. Now, however, when Elise gets an opportunity to be the media spokesperson for ScanTron Security International, a company based in her hometown of Flatwoods, Texas, the tide appears to be turning for the better--until the massive ScanTron complex explodes in flames, and the townspeople, some of whom were injured in the fire, want answers and want them now. Was the company complex, as seems increasingly likely, housing toxic chemicals? To Elise's frustration, Al Patterson, the surly, seemingly racist and outspokenly sexist manager of the ScanTron site, won't provide pertinent information to anyone, least of all Elise. And while vain, handsome TV reporter Carlos Rico gets on Elise's case, harassing her for answers in an attempt to boost his own profile, her parents, her best childhood friend, Damita, and all of her old acquaintances in town say can't understand why she's working for the enemy. When it appears that ScanTron's been keeping some deadly secrets, threatening those that Elise loves most, her crisis of conscience, troubled marriage, and spotted past are all brought to the forefront, causing her to make hard decisions that will alter the course of many lives. Fast-moving and realistic, though readers will wish that Bunkley had found ways of tempering all its somber business with other kinds of liveliness in characters and events. (Author tour)

Pub Date: July 15th, 1997
ISBN: 0-525-94010-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1997


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