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    Review of HEARTSTOPPER by Joy Fielding (see her website)

    Atria Books, April 2007

    A serial killer is stalking the sleepy Florida town of Torrance, shooting them and dumping the bodies in roadside ditches and swamps. The suspects are many, the clues and red herrings leading the increasingly paranoid residents every which way but the right way. Aging Sheriff John Webber has something to prove--that he still has what it takes--by catching the killer.

    Pretty standard fare, but what elevates this book above other similarly plotted ones are the keenly drawn characters, all of them charmingly flawed. We go into many points of view, including that of the sheriff, his wife, his daughter, a soon-to-be divorced teacher and her daughter, her ex-husband's mistress (who also used to be the sheriff's mistress), the mistress's fat, unpopular daughter, and of course ... the killer's, in the form of a first-person diary.

    This is a fabulous representation of small-town life at its worst and people (dare I say like us?) at their least flattering. It was hard to know exactly who to root for, as they all had their unsympathetic moments. The pace was a little slow at the beginning. But I did get sucked in, and HEARTSTOPPER became a page-turner.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 6/06/07

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