January 11, 1999 12:00 PM

by Judy Mercer

Page-turner of the week

Ariel Gold doesn’t know whether to heed her head or her heart. Every professional impulse is warning the Los Angeles television journalist to stay at arm’s length from the subject of her latest piece, accused wife-killer Jack Spurling—while her more basic instincts are urging her to pounce. Add to Ariel’s dilemma the previous history she may have shared with the hunk—but can’t recall because of memory loss from an accident—and you’ve got all the ingredients for big-time trouble. And a tantalizing thriller.

Gold buffs from Mercer’s previous two books starring the spunky reporter-sleuth, Double Take and Fast Forward, won’t be disappointed by the twisty tale that unreels here as our heroine investigates femme fatale Eve Spurling’s death during a drunken cruise, to the dismay of both her producer beau and someone who has started stalking her. (Newcomers may be sufficiently intrigued by tidbits concerning Gold’s past, slyly inserted by the author, to pick up the earlier works.) As Gold slowly penetrates the layers of deceit obscuring what occurred, Image’s cunning game of truth or consequences will keep you guessing until the final pages—and maybe even beyond. (Pocket Books, $23)

Bottom Line: Sexy suspense

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