March 26, 2001 12:00 PM

by Barbara Taylor Bradford

Like virtually every other Bradford heroine, Katie Byrne is beautiful, talented and passionate enough to overcome any number of obstacles on the path to happily-ever-after. But this time out Bradford gives her girl a greater than usual challenge: Katie has to solve a brutal murder.

The story begins with a violent attack on Katie’s two best friends from high school. One is raped and killed, the other beaten into a coma. And poor Katie, who narrowly escaped the attack herself, spends the next decade haunted by the tragedy—and the fear that the killer might come back for her—even as she launches a glamorous acting career.

Alas, the two story lines don’t really mesh. And mystery fans cannot even comfort themselves by trying to figure out who done it: The guilty party turns out to be a character not previously mentioned in the book. (Doubleday, $24.95)

Bottom Line: Bradford should stick to romance

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