Stuart Woods leaves behind the political suspense of an earlier novel, CHIEFS, for this tale of mystery, revenge, and romance. Liz Ramsey, beautiful before her steroid-maddened husband beats her literally to a pulp, beautiful once again after extensive plastic surgery and a divorce, gets away from it all on Georgia’s remote Cumberland Island. There, she charms an ailing patriarch, Angus Drummond, and falls in love with one of his twin grandsons, Keir, who for some reason refuses to acknowledge his brother, Hamish. And vice versa: The two constitute a visual palindrome, mirror images physically.
Meanwhile, Liz has left a mess back in Atlanta. Her former husband, Baker, enraged by what he perceives as her desertion, and temporarily off-duty from the gridiron, goes on a murderous rampage. In short order, Liz’s lawyer and publisher fall victim to Baker’s single-minded pursuit, but soon a homicide cop with a spotty record is on the trail. Liz, back on the island, finds that in such underpopulated wilderness it is easy to get overinvolved with the locals, to the extent that she’s witnessing wills, effecting reconciliations, and generally being meddlesome. If the narrative sounds contrived, it’s because characterizations of secondary characters are one-dimensional; in short, even the twins are plot devices rather than fully developed people. Harlequin romance meets Southern gothic when Woods finally winds the threads together in this all too threadbare mystery.