Mira, Jul 2004, 6.50, 400 pp.
In New Mexico, young police officer Ian Campbell and other cops work the fatal car accident in which four people survive. Since the vehicle came from the Butler Divinity Mission, Ian and a veteran cop drive there to inform Reverend Michael Butler about the accident. However, no dogs or people are anywhere in what seems like a ghost town until they enter the chapel. They find a mass of dead people including Ian's newlywed wife social worker Anne, who worked closely with Reverend Michael.
Twenty-two years later, Ian takes a room in New Hampshire's Tranquillity Inn owned and managed by Kelly Stone, one of the four survivors of the Butler massacre. Ian fears for Kelly's life, as an unknown assailant is completing the mission of Reverend Butler by killing the survivors. Ian plans to insure this widow with a brilliant three-year-old daughter Jade lives.
FOURTH VICTIM is a romantic suspense that starts off with horrific Jones like suicides and murders, slows down to enable a relationship to form between the lead duo, and then goes full speed until the climatic confrontation. Ian is a terrific champion seeking revenge for the murder of his beloved Anne and feeling guilty as he falls in love again. Kelly is a fascinating protagonist hiding her tainted ancestry to protect Jade. Fans of taut thrillers will want to read Ian's efforts to keep the two human females who have reawakened long thought comatose feelings safe.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner