NOW OR NEVER by Elizabeth Adler


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 Adler breaks out of rich-and-famous romances and into the champagne-laced serial-killer variety--and comes through with a smooth by-the-numbers plot. The latest from the author of The Secret of the Villa Mimosa (1995), etc., reads like a compilation of serial-killer plotlines, with elements reminiscent of everyone from Dean Koontz to Alfred Hitchcock. But the very familiarity of the events here will likely keep her romance audience securely hers as she leads them into new territory. Three women in Boston have been murdered in the same manner, leading Homicide Detective Harry Jordan to believe that Boston has a serial killer on its hands. Occasional witnesses saw the murderer fleeing and his photo-likeness has been rendered by a police artist. He will kill again unless Harry can stop him, so Harry tries to enlist Mallory Malone, a Manhattan TV journalist who specializes in let's-catch-the-perp cop shows, and have her run the photo nationally. When Harry takes Mallory out to dinner and pops the question, however, she not only shies off from the photo but gives Harry the icy shoulder. As it happens, Harry is the son of wealth, has a fabulous apartment and a fancy cabin in the woods (wherein farsighted readers will foresee the heroine stalked by the villain), while Mallory herself has a splendid apartment overlooking Central Park. Everybody, of course, has something to hide. Mallory's big secret is her former incarnation as a nonentity in bottlecap glasses in Seattle, where her father abandoned the family and her mother threw herself into the Pacific, following which the teenaged Mary Mallory was raped and impregnated by the very serial killer Harry Jordan now seeks 20 years later! Despite some nasty plot turns, the outcome, of course, is never in much doubt. Sweetness and flight, performed with procedural aplomb.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-385-31592-9
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1996


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