A tiresome tale about unsavory people unswervingly following the money, in a fourth outing (The Good Sister, 2002, etc.) from pseudonymous Diamond (“a bestselling thriller writer”).
Oh, those flush, posh Donners: Alexandra, a society lady of steel-encrusted elegance; and Jack, founder and CEO of Sound Holdings, an investment company for only the fattest of fat cats, who racks up another million every time he clears his throat. It’s exactly the kind of money to attract a stunning lovely like Nicole Pierce (her eyes “shining arcs of blue”). Sweet-natured but underachieving Jonathan is the Donner heir: a set-up for someone as clever, single-minded, and weary of being underprivileged as Nicole. She snares him, of course. They wed. Alexandra smells adventuress and quakes at the very thought of Donnerdom contaminated by trashiness. Not that Nicole is all bad, mind you. In a restrictive sort of way, she does care for Jonathan, would probably have made him a better-than-average wife if he hadn’t gotten himself killed. Or murdered? Nicole, Jonathan, and Jonathan’s sister Pam were snorkeling when it happened—an equipment glitch, and Jonathan drowned. Accident, the police say, but Alexandra, ever vigilant, doesn’t buy it for a minute, convinced that money-hungry Nicole shuffled off Jonathan’s mortal coil for the sake of closer proximity to the Donner multimillions. Also obsessed by those Donner bucks are assorted amoral types such as Jimmy Farr, a low-life out of Nicole’s past, who deals in drugs, extortion, and smacking people around when they cross him—and who plans to get rich exploiting the newly moneyed Nicole. Add an egregiously greedy relative and a conniving stinker of a false friend. But, withstanding them all, Nicole hangs in there to the very end, the twisty sort that readers never see coming mostly because it makes so little sense.
Romance-novel prose, transparent plot tricks, dreary cast: give the Donners a pass.