“Not everything in this world is about Garner Quinn,” her housekeeper’s daughter Mercedes Fields tells her. It’s a lesson that seems to be lost on Garner’s author, who’s made the bestselling true-crime writer a target of a demented correspondent whose devotion soon turns to murderous hatred. Hiring Reed Corbin’s high-priced security firm to protect her, Garner retreats with her daughter to the Jersey shore, but the man who calls himself “Chaz” just keeps on coming—until he runs into a trap and lands in jail. Time for a celebration, crows Corbin, bodyguard to the stars, who by this time has fallen for the woman he’s professionally bound to protect. So he spirits her off to a party to launch his new book, The Fear Factor, where she smugly watches videotaped tributes from Madonna and Tom Cruise to “the man I’m going to sleep with tonight.” Instead of sleeping with her, though, Corbin gets blown to pieces by a bomb that his surviving partner, Matt Raice, insists was set by a terrorist cabal that had nothing to do with Garner. Only after a trip to Paris—where her distant lover, sculptor Dane Blackmoor, is willing to drop everything for Garner’s sake—a second encounter with providentially freed Chaz, and a memorable finale among the Thanksgiving parade balloons, will Garner realize that the whole ado is about her, and has been from the beginning. Like Garner’s first two adventures (Graven Images, 1995; Shadow Walk, 1997), this one is suspenseful stuff but undiluted by a hint of any character whose life doesn’t revolve around its heroine, surely the most self-involved true-crime writer around.