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Cristofano's intense, romantic debut revolves around the Federal Witness Protection Program. When Melody Grace McCartney is six, she and her family witness mobster Tony Bovaro gut Jimmy "the Rat" Fratello at a restaurant in New York's Little Italy. They go into WITSEC in exchange for testifying against Bovaro. Eight years later, due to a foolish slip on Melody's part, a Bovaro goon finds her parents and kills them, but WITSEC whisks Melody to safety. By the time she's an adult, Melody has gone through a numbing parade of eight identities, the latest as a math teacher. She's about to enter yet another new life when she meets John Bovaro (aka Jonathan), who at age 10 also saw his father slicing up Jimmy. Jonathan, who's been tracking Melody's movements ever since and is obsessed with making things right, persuades her to run off with him. Despite Melody's questionable attraction to Jonathan, Cristofano's mad love scenario sizzles like garlic in hot olive oil. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.