Friday's Child

Undercover Lover

Hard to Handle by Kylie Brant
(Silh. Int. Mom. 1108, $4.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-27178-6
Hard To Handle describes a loving auntís difficulty in coming to terms with her nephewís psychic abilities. It also describes Detective Gabe Connally and Meghan Pattersonís difficulty in coming to terms with the growing romance between them.

Meghan and her sister Sandra grew up in a dysfunctional home made even more difficult because Sandra used her psychic abilities to garner her motherís attention in the age-old concept of negative attention being better than no attention. She also used her abilities to torment Meghan. As adults, they were not close - when Sandra died in a car accident, Meghan stepped forward to take care of her nephew Danny, a five year old child she barely knew.

Danny had inherited his motherís psychic ability. Meghan has tried to protect him from having people discover his telepathic talents. This effort is jeopardized when Danny sees two men running in an alley and tunes in to one manís fear.

Detective Connally was chasing the men who got away, and while canvassing the stores around the alley realizes that Meghan is hiding something while protecting Danny from talking with the police. Meghan resists, not just because she wants to hide Dannyís ability, but also because she harbors a tremendous grudge against the police.

Prior to her sisterís death, which Meghan does not believe was an accident, Sandra had been assisting the police in breaking up a large drug ring. During this time an unscrupulous cop had leaked her identity and involvement to the press.

Kylie Brant has delved into the paranormal before and whether or not one embraces the concept, she does it with credibility. Her characters are well developed, although overloaded with emotional baggage. She successfully develops a rather pedestrian murder plot with the aid of interesting main characters and crisp, tight dialogue. Scenes shift easily and naturally with Brantís usual expertise.

The romance between Gabe and Meghan grows despite their reluctance to get involved with each other. At times sensuous, and generally realistic, it is an enjoyable journey to take with them.

--Thea Davis

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