Ballantine, May 2004, 19.95, 320 pp.
In Long Beach, California, private investigator Kat Vargas (who first appeared in LOVER'S LANE) is shot while working a domestic case. Her former partner Jake Montgomery persuades Kat to recover at his house in nearby Twilight Cove while he and his wife go on vacation.
Resident Ty Chandler visits Kat wanting to hire her as a sleuth. Ty recently returned from living in Alaska for nineteen years to spend time with his dying mother who just past away. His mom informed Ty that his high school girlfriend Amy Simmons was pregnant when he left town. A shocked Ty wants to meet his daughter, who he did not know existed. Kat reluctantly agrees to help Ty and quickly locates Sunny, who has lived a rough life. Ty has a new stunner when he learns he has a granddaughter. He also has a third strike when he falls in love with Kat, who reciprocates even while he is trying to forge a relationship with his daughter, who has obligations elsewhere.
HEAT WAVE is an intriguing romantic suspense starring two delightful lead characters and a wonderful support group. Though the budding love between Kat and Ty makes for a fine romance, the underlying focus of the plot is the relationship, often dysfunctional on her part, between Ty and Sunny. She is an engaging protagonist struggling with what is right for her daughter and her friends at the cost of her self. Though the audience will wonder about Ty's mom hiding the truth until she died, readers will appreciate this fine contemporary tale that does not furbish easy answers to complex social problems.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner