Minette Walters is the award-winning bestselling author of The Echo, The Ice House, The Sculptress and The Breaker. Almost all of Minette's books have now been produced for television, with The Echo also to be screened in Australia this year.
Having won three major genre awards for her first three novels (e.g., an Edgar for The Sculptress, St. Martin's, 1993; Britain's Gold Dagger for The Scold's Bridle, LJ 10/1/94), Walters goes for a grand slam with this latest, a tale of psychological suspense.
British suspense writer Walters, each of whose previous books (The Ice House, The Sculptress and The Scold's Bridle) has won an award, now has a new publisher and a big promotional push behind her. Unfortunately, the new book is her weakest to date‘overplotted and rather unconvincing. It rests on an interesting premise, however: its heroine, Jinx Kingsley, who has been found drunk and disoriented on an abandoned airfield in Wiltshire after apparently trying to kill herself by wrecking her car, is suspected of several murders‘but can't, after her accident, remember anything that happened for several vital days. Her husband had been mysteriously killed some years before‘and now her fiancé and the girlfriend with whom he has been cheating on Jinx are missing. Can her powerful millionaire father be involved? And what about the man who is savagely attacking prostitutes in the area? As Jinx tries, in a local clinic run by sympathetic Dr. Alan Protheroe, to recover her memory and exorcise dark terrors hovering at the edge of her mind, several well-observed police investigators dig out fragments of her story. But that story is so complicated, and filled with such a welter of walk-on characters, many of them ultimately insignificant, that the reader loses patience. Jinx herself is not made sufficiently sympathetic to win interest, her growing affection for Dr. Protheroe seems half-hearted and the ultimate murderer, when finally unmasked, comes right out of left field. Walters is highly talented, but perhaps she is working too fast. 75,000 first printing; major ad/promo; Literary Guild main selection. (Mar.)