The Best Revenge


Dear Stranger

French Quarter

Guilty Pleasures

Key West

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Sheer Pleasures

True Bliss

Wait for Me

The Wish Club

Glass Houses by Stella Cameron
(Kensington $24.00 PG-13) ISBN 1-57566-586-7
NYPD Detective Aiden Flynn has been babysitting Detective Ryan Hill’s precious orchids while Ryan has been away, but it’s Ryan’s impressive high speed computer that catches Aiden’s eye whenever he visits his associate’s apartment. Aiden’s dinosaur of a computer is continually on the blink and it’s a sure bet that Ryan wouldn’t mind if Aiden were to use his computer to catch up on his e-mail.

After booting up Ryan’s computer, Aiden idly glances through Ryan’s incoming e-mail and can’t help but notice a series of messages from someone called Olivia. Curiosity gets the better of Aiden and he decides to peek at the first message. One peek and Aiden is hooked.

It seems Ryan has been using the false identity of a FBI agent called Sam and is attempting to lure a frightened British photographer named Olivia FitzDurham to the US. It appears Olivia is in possession of sensitive photographs that Ryan is desperate to get his hands on.

Aiden, against his better judgment, pretends to be Sam and persuades Olivia to meet him in New York. “Sam’s” plea that she’ll be safer in New York finally convinces Olivia to make the trip. Someone is stalking her and she’s terrified. When Olivia arrives and discovers Aiden’s deception, she’s no longer sure what to believe. Especially now that Ryan has turned the entire NYPD against Aiden and the couple is forced to run.

Olivia and Aiden embark on a frantic race across the country, chased by the most inept group of criminals I’ve come across in ages, while in the company of a retired police dog with metal capped teeth. Thru it all, they unsuccessfully attempt to resist the attraction that is drawing them together.

The first third of Glass Houses contains some of the best suspense I’ve read. When Olivia is stalked thru the London Underground, I was terrified for her. If someone had entered the room at that moment, I’m sure my eyes would have been bugging out and my mouth hanging open. But when she finally meets her stalker face to face, things just started to fall apart.

I think the reason is that author Stella Cameron chose to portray her villains, Rupert Fish and Winston Moody, in a humorous fashion, continually referring to them as “Laurel and Hardy.” I’m the first to admit it takes a lot to get me to laugh when I read, but the humor in Glass Housesnever caused me to crack a smile.

Both Aiden and Olivia presented problems, as well. I haven’t read Cameron’s previous book, Key West, where many readers first met Aiden and clamored for his story. I was uncomfortable with my first encounter with Aiden behaving in a sneaky fashion (I initially thought he was the villain) and I think that may have colored by perception of him throughout the rest of the book.

Olivia was described by her brother as being a “nutter” - Brit-speak for somewhat crazy. There’s no question she is a ditz and is meant to be endearing and humorous. But, again, I was unable to grasp the humor. She teetered far to close to the “too stupid to live” type of heroine. Her habit of forgetting crucial information until it’s too late had Aiden looking as if he would strangle her at one point. I was more than willing to help him. Since both characters were not particularly appealing, I had no emotional investment in their relationship.

If Glass Houses had maintained its air of suffocating menace throughout the book, I know it would have been a keeper for me. Unfortunately, in my case, the humor simply did not work. But if you’re a Stella Cameron fan and like your suspense with a broad comic touch, I expect you’ll want to add Glass Houses to your summer reading list.

--Karen Lynch

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