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Those expecting this book to be as thrilling and romantic as the tales spun by Lowell's mother, Elizabeth Lowell, will be sorely disappointed by this uninspired effort. None of the characters possesses a distinct voice or much depth, so it's difficult to be drawn in by the plight of Los Angeles assistant DA Tessa Jacobi, who has just taken on a high profile date rape case. Aspiring singer Kelly Martin claims that a popular pro quarterback raped her, but there's little physical evidence to support her story. Determined to override the he-said/she-said stalemate of most celebrity cases, Tessa enlists the aid of handsome PI Luke Novak. Their investigation leads them to Club Red, a private salon that serves as a stable for "Thoroughbreds," innocent young girls who are trained for sexual pleasure. As Tessa and Luke dig deeper, the attraction between them builds, but their sex scenes lack passion. A suspenseful attempt on Tessa's life gives readers momentary hope that the author has hit her stride, but the scene quickly gives way to more tedious narration. Lowell (When the Storm Breaks) has yet to master the skill of telling a story through action rather than passive narration and dialogue, and it is this handicap that prevents the novel from fully engaging the reader. Agent, Dominick Abel. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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