CHARADE by Sandra Brown


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 The queen of Texas melodrama takes metaphor perhaps a step too far as she pits her heart-transplant-patient heroine against a serial killer obsessed with stopping her new heart. Having as a child survived Hodgkin's disease, her parents' double suicide, and life in a series of substandard foster homes, feisty redhead Cat Delaney is more than able to wisecrack her way through a heart transplant operation at the peak of her career. Famous as a star of the television soap opera Passages, Cat experiences both a literal and figurative change of heart after her surgery, abruptly opting to drop her acting career, move to San Antonio, and create a local news segment aimed at matching abandoned children with good adoptive homes. She breaks off an affair with Dr. Dean Spicer, her wealthy cardiologist, and falls madly in love with Alex Pierce (``His tongue was nimble, his appetite carnal''), a Houston cop turned mystery writer whose sudden appearance in her life may not be coincidental. When newspaper articles describing murders of other heart transplantees begin appearing in Cat's mailbox, she realizes she's being stalked by a lunatic obsessed with stilling the heart of a loved one who may or may not be her donor. As the anniversary of Cat's transplant nears, the threat of violence grows greater. But from which direction comes the danger?: From her hostile secretary, possibly related to a woman who was murdered on the day of her transplant? From the stepfather of one of Cat's orphan clients, whose greatest rival may have been Cat's donor? Or (horrors) from sexy Alex, whose past holds more secrets than she could ever guess? Highly schematic and hastily sketched, this nevertheless provides a satisfying dose of Brown's (Where There's Smoke, 1993, etc.) famously raunchy sex scenes (`` `I want to know I'm with a man. I want to be taken. I want--' `You want to be fucked.' ''), and a certain raw enthusiasm that will no doubt increase her legion of fans. (First printing of 300,000; Literary Guild main selection)

Pub Date: May 2nd, 1994
ISBN: 0-446-51656-2
Page count: 432pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1994


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