Drop Dead Gorgeous

Dying to Have Her

Glory

Long, Lean and Lethal

Night of the Blackbird

Picture Me Dead

Surrender

Tall, Dark & Deadly

 
Suspicious by Heather Graham
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1379, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-27449-1
**
Lorena Fortier is unwilling to believe her father’s death from a fall down a flight of steps was an accident. She is also suspicious of the people at Harry’s Alligator Farm in the Florida Everglades. Her suspicions are based on an email from the farm to her father prior to his death.

Lorena’s father had believed that alligators would provide some of the meat that a growing world population will need and he had found a method to make them larger and larger. Just before his death, he had abandoned it because it appeared to be too successful.

Lorena had obtained a nursing degree before she graduated from law school, so using her mother’s maiden name and dropping the law degree from her resume, she applies to Harry’s Alligator Farm for a nursing position and is hired.

En route, Lorena is caught speeding by the handsome Native American cop Jesse Crane. Ticketed, she moves on to her job and she is settling in with the other employees when bad things start happening.

First, a middle-aged couple that lives by the waters of the swamp is found executed by rifle bullets. They are well known to Jesse, so he is able to eliminate any possible drug connection to their killing. Then an affable local drunk, who had great expertise with alligators, is found dead, apparently by an alligator. The couple’s daughter tells Jesse that her mother had been complaining of mysterious lights in the swamp just prior to their death. Jesse believes all these incidents to be linked.

All the characters from Harry’s Alligator Farm are poorly created. Cardboard and barely distinguishable one from the other, they are nonetheless Lorena’s suspects. She is thrown in with Jesse several times and falls into lust. After several days and several bedroom scenes the lust morphs right into love.

Jesse is supposed to be weighed down by the tragedy of his wife’s murder by a cocaine addict when they were cops together in the Big City. Again, this character is so thinly fashioned that his thoughts rarely surface as the story progresses, so we have to take other people’s word for his past.

Lorena is the best drawn, but there are glaring discrepancies in her. To be the dual degreed overachiever that she is portrayed, she seems clumsy and obvious in her investigations and quickly is challenged by both Jesse and her main suspect. Out of the jumble of characters, the story meanders to its climax.

The story is replete with alligator lore, alligator facts, big vicious alligators and hatchling alligators in laboratories. In fact, viewed in perspective, alligators and their place in the world economy seem to be the real message of this novel. So, if alligators are your passion, this is the book for you.

--Thea Davis


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