Three dead women and the missing tabloid reporter who put their How-I-Was-Stalked stories in print arouse the sleuthing quasi-expertise of quasi-hip 20-something Lucy Pascale.
Lucy (Dead Clever, Feb. 2003), on summer break from teaching crime fiction in Devon and agonizing over her beloved Fenn’s marriage to his pregnant one-night-stand, scampers to London, where her urbane Gallic dad and his new lady friend Star open their quarters with her while she tries to connect with Jess, an old university chum who rang up, whispered she was in great trouble and needed Lucy’s investigative skills, then disappeared. The coppers have no luck finding her or tracking the killers of the gals in her stalking exposé. With some advice from Jess’s co-workers, ex-lovers, and Star, a therapist specializing in psychopathic disorders, Lucy discovers some tawdry truths about Jess’s work ethic, then gets the uncanny feeling she too is being stalked. Lots of cigarettes, bus and tube rides, and cell phone messages later, Lucy is over Fenn and in view of Jess, but she has to rely on a one-night-stand of her own to rescue poor Star, who’s practically hoarse from keeping the killer distractedly chatting about his wiles and woes.
Thomas strives to be clever, but her transparent clues, feeble attempts at misdirection, and whiney heroine are way off the mark. Maybe she’ll put the more engaging Star and Lucy’s dad front and center next time.