Rachel Snow is doing pretty well. Despite divorce and the haunting memory of her father's suicide, she has managed to buy her childhood home, raise her teenage daughter, and carve out a career as a popular Chicago radio talk-show host. The radio show, however, becomes the good, the bad, and the ugly part of her life when a caller identifying himself as the Truthseeker turns her life and her career upside down by sending her ratings through the roof while reeking emotional and physical havoc on her home life. This strong character makes an otherwise predictable story a worthwhile read. There's a pleasant love triangle and believable dialog, especially between Rachel and her daughter and Rachel and a wonderfully depicted Camilla Duncan, her mother. This may not be an improvement over O'Brien's previous work (The Ladies Lunch, LJ 8/94), but the fast-paced plot is refreshingly uncluttered. Recommended for collections where mild thrillers are in demand.Shirley Gibson Coleman, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., Mich.
Political journalist O'Brien takes on too much too fast in a third novel (after The Ladies' Lunch, 1994, etc.) that's part family drama, part romance, part mystery, with the whole, unfortunately, proving less than the sum of its many parts.
Rachel Snow is an attractive but lonely middle-aged Chicago radio talk-show host with a troubled past. Her father may or may not have committed suicide (he was struck by a train) years ago. Her divorce was complicated by her own adultery with a charismatic reporter. Her mother who, like her father, has always preferred silence to confession, fought breast cancer without even telling Rachel, and is now in financial trouble down in Miami. And teenaged daughter Edie is torn between her parents, in love with a boy from the wrong side of the tracks, and struggling with garden-variety adolescent turmoil besides. When Rachel buys and renovates her childhood home, it seems as though she's on the cusp of coming to terms with her history, and when her mother and Edie move into the house with her, life does indeed seem to be taking a turn for the better. Meanwhile, though, the ratings aren't great at her showuntil, that is, a mysterious figure starts calling in, claiming to be the notorious serial killer The Truthseeker. Then all hell breaks loose: former lover Amos, the dashing reporter, reemerges; Jim, Rachel's station manager, reveals that he's infatuated with her; and ex-husband Matt tells her (meaningfully) that his new marriage is on the rocks. Through it all, Rachel struggles to keep a step ahead of The Truthseeker, who appears to be threatening her family's safety.
O'Brien knows how to create vivid characters and write believable dialogue. But for the poor, confused reader, Rachel's romantic complications and troubles are diluted by their sheer number.