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    Review of SHE'S NOT THERE by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith


    Henry Holt and Company, 2003

    Block Island is the perfect place for FBI agent Poppy Rice to recuperate--along with her lover, ATF agent Joe Barnow. Admittedly, the law on Block Island is comprised of one aging Constable and an alcoholic state trooper, but that's all right. There was never any crime on Block Island. At least there wasn't until Poppy almost runs over the body of an overweight teenage girl twisted and tortured in death.

    A con man has opened a camp for overweight girls on Block Island and someone is targetting the girls. Joe goes into retreat, unwilling to accept the possibility that his island harbors a serpent in its heart, so it's up to Poppy, along with alcoholic Fitzy, to get to the bottom of the case. Bumbling officials in Rhode Island and in the Center for Disease Control end up making things more difficult for Poppy.

    Author Mary-Ann Tirone Smith writes a compelling page turner. Her descriptions of the people of this north-eastern island are convincing and three-dimensional. Poppy is sympathetic and smart, without being superwoman. I especially enjoyed the character of Fitzy--a hugely damaged individual who battles himself and his own fears.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 2/09/03

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