Shocking Pink

Bone Cold by Erica Spindler
(Mira, $6.99, V) ISBN 1-55166-794-0
In 1978, thirteen-year-old Harlow Grail, the daughter of Hollywood actress Savannah North Grail, is abducted from the family’s estate, by a man named Kurt. Six-year-old Timmy Price, the housekeeper’s son, was unfortunately with Harlow at the time and was kidnapped as well. Although Harlow is terrified, she tries to hold it together for the sake of young Timmy, since she feels responsible for his kidnapping.

When Kurt discovers Harlow’s parents have contacted the police, he flies into a rage and smothers Timmy with a pillow while a horrified Harlow is forced to watch. Then, in an attempt to show Harlow’s parents he means business, he hacks off Harlow’s pinkie finger with a pair of clippers. But Harlow is stronger than Kurt thinks, and when he leaves to collect the ransom, she is able to escape.

Twenty-three years later, Harlow has changed her name to Anna North, moved to New Orleans and has begun to experience some success as a suspense author. Although no one is aware of her true identity, Anna has never felt completely safe because Kurt has never been apprehended.

It appears her fears have been realized when she begins to receive disturbing notes from a young fan named Minnie. Notes containing information only Kurt could know.

When Anna’s close friend Jaye mysteriously disappears, Anna turns to homicide detective Quentin Malone with her fears that Kurt has finally tracked her down.

Quentin is certain Anna has been reading a few too many thrillers and is hesitant to help. But when several women, all redheads like Anna, are murdered in the French Quarter, Quentin is forced to admit Anna may be in danger. Especially since the last victim is found with a severed pinkie.

While there are several details throughout the book, such as Anna’s mother inadvertently revealing Anna’s real identity, that I found jarring, the relentless escalation of suspense kept me turning the pages late into the night.

Anna is an appealing heroine. Her character growth from a terrified victim in hiding to a woman able to confront her tormentor is particularly satisfying. She has the perfect partner in Quentin, a man who feels that even if Anna is too smart and accomplished for him, he can at least protect her better than anyone else. Together, they brought out the best in one another.

Although the author throws numerous red herrings at the reader, I was pretty certain I knew who done it, but am happy to say I was totally fooled by the reason why.

Bone Cold is a fast paced psychological thriller with a strong romantic thread that will particularly please fans of romantic suspense. Although this is the first book I’ve read by author Erica Spindler, it will definitely not be the last.

--Karen Lynch

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