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    THE VIOLENCE BEAT by Eve K. Sandstrom

    Onyx, Penguin Putnam, November 1997

    Nell Mathews is hooked on the 'violence beat,' crime coverage for the Grantham daily newspaper. Up until now, however, she's reported the news. Now, she is caught up in the story and involved with a cop. Nell is held hostage by a crazed ex-mechanic, rescued by a good-looking cop and hostage negotiator, then finds out about a police scandel. Nell is the story, but only if she lives long enough to report on it.

    This is an intelligently written mystery with an attractive spice of romance. Nell carrems from danger, to cop Mike Swenson's bed, to the newsroom. The reader rushes along, unable to put down the novel (or just about anything else). Sandstrom writes a character-driven novel and the relationship between Nell and Mike is complex with all the human vulnerabilities exposed. The mystery simply tears along, although the hard-core sleuthing is a little lightweight by some standards.

    Four Stars

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