Mira, Mar 2003, 24.95, 352 pp.
In Miami, Florida, talented artist Ashley Montague attends the police academy while living with her uncle and his girl friend on top of a bar-restaurant he owns near a marina. Homicide Detective Jake Dilessio has just relocated his houseboat to that same marina. When the two first meet, neither likes the other.
Ashley draws the scene of a terrible accident she has seen. Later she learns the victim is a high school friend Stuart Frecias whose body is filled with illegal drugs as he resides in a coma. Ashley believes he would never do drugs insisting something sinister happened while Stuart was undercover working on a story for some rag.
Meanwhile Jake's worst nightmare returns when a woman is found mutilated in the Everglades with the same MO as that of a serial killer five years ago. As he makes no progress, he agrees to look into Stuart's situation. Wondering if Ashley's theory is correct, Jake sees a potential link between his homicide case and that of Stuart even while he and Ashley fall in love and she accepts a job as a forensic artist.
Fans of Heather Graham recognize that her novels always contain gripping suspense and the right portion of love. PICTURE ME DEAD is a strong police procedural romance that grips readers until the final twist. The engaging lead couple is typical of the genre as they initially detest each other, but ultimately love one another. The story line is filled with intrigue, but contains too many turns losing some credibility yet Ms. Graham is so good her audience will finish the novel in one sitting.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner