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Despite a derivative and formulaic plot about a terrorist intent on blowing up Los Angeles, forensic psychologist Dr. Sylvia Strange's fourth outing (after 1998's A Desperate Silence) should keep suspense fans turning the pages. Strange comes to L.A. to interview convict John Dantes as part of a profiling study of incarcerated bombers. Dantes is serving a life sentence for an explosion in the Malibu Getty Museum that killed several fifth graders and their teacher the year before. While Dantes has claimed responsibility for several earlier political-protest bombings, he denies involvement in the Getty outrage. Meanwhile, further explosions are causing chaos in L.A., and Strange becomes convinced that Dantes knows the identity of the new bomber on the block. With the help of various law enforcement officials, as well as unofficial (but brilliant) terrorist tracker and amateur sumo wrestler Edmond Sweetheart, Strange pursues the killer through deepening circles of purgatory and punishment into the dark guts of the subterranean city. Sprinkling the story with references to Dante's Inferno, Lovett builds an extended and predictable metaphor for Los Angeles as nine-circled Hell. L.A. noir is a rich territory already well explored; this novel sets its characters down a skillfully wrought but never truly surprising path of destruction. Agent, Theresa Park. 7-city author tour.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
In her fourth thriller featuring forensic psychologist Sylvia Strange, Lovett (A Desperate Silence, is harder edged, higher tech, and cooler than ever. Called to Los Angeles to interview the notorious imprisoned bomber, John Freeman Dantes, Strange still off-stride after the suicide of a patient longs for the warmth of her family and her Santa Fe home. But when Dantes will negotiate only with her, she becomes the pivotal figure in a frenzied search for the shadowy M, somehow linked to Dantes, who's still setting off bombs. Sylvia and renowned antiterrorist analyst Edmond Sweetheart, who has a personal stake in the bombings, analyze the bombers' communications (containing allusions to Dante's Inferno and Milton's Paradise Lost), explore the subterranean city, and barely escape being blown up. Lovett creates some of the most mesmerizing serial killers since Hannibal Lector and presents a frighteningly plausible scenario for crippling a city. Her anthropomorphized L.A. is as strong a presence as any human character. Fans of the author and her gutsy protagonist are likely to be thrilled, but newcomers to the series may prefer to meet Strange in an earlier outing. Recommended for all public libraries. Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.