Drop Dead Gorgeous


A Magical Christmas



As Heather Graham Pozzessere:

If Looks Could Kill

Never Sleep With Strangers

As Shannon Drake:

Come the Morning

No Other Love

No Other Man

No Other Woman

Tall, Dark, and Deadly
by Heather Graham
(Onyx, $ 6.99, PG-13) ISBN 0- 451-40847 -0
If you're looking for romance you might want to read Tall, Dark, and Deadly. If, however, you're looking for mystery or suspense, don't bother.

Samantha Miller doesn't believe her good friend and neighbor, Marnie, a tough, successful attorney, would just take off and not let anyone know where she was going. Sam thinks something bad has happened to Marnie; she's thinking about calling the police.

Other friends believe Marnie is just off having a wild weekend. But Marnie's home has just been renovated and Sam doesn't think Marnie would leave it -- at least not until she's had the chance to show it off. Sam lets herself into Marnie's house to investigate; she doesn't find Marnie but she does run across the man who broke her heart five years ago, Rowan Dillon.

Rowan, a rock star, has just moved into Sam's expensive waterfront neighborhood. He and Sam fell in love years ago when he was separated from his wife. Because his wife was having serious problems, Rowan went back to her, leaving Sam heartbroken and looking like a home wrecker in the tabloids.

After losing his wife and the complications of that situation, Rowan was looking for a quiet place to write his music. So he moved into the house next door to Marnie and he had been seeing her socially. Sam didn't know about Rowan moving into the neighborhood and Rowan didn't know that Sam lived right down the street.

Sam is determined not to let him back into her life but her desire to find out what happened to Marnie brings them together. As Sam and Rowan look into Marnie's disappearance, they learn a lot about Marnie's past, including the fact that she was once a stripper at a local club.

Sam also finds out that two other women who worked at the strip club have also disappeared. In addition, she discovers that in the past couple of years Marnie has been involved with many a tall, dark and handsome man, both socially and professionally.

The primary question Tall, Dark and Deadly seems to be asking is can a tall, dark, and handsome man really be a psychopath? Answer: you betcha -- see Ted Bundy. The tall, dark and handsome psychopath in this story likes to kidnap women and feed them to the alligators.

Now I have friends who tell me they never guess the identity of the bad guy till the very end of the story, but I find it hard to fathom how anyone could not pick out the murderer well before the final chapter of this book.

Another major problem with this story is Sam's inexplicable desire NOT to share information with the police. After Marnie disappears and Sam starts getting threatening calls, wouldn't you think she would call the police and file a report?

And you would certainly think when Sam discovers a connection between the local strip club and three young women (including Marnie) who have recently disappeared that she would immediately let the police in on this information? Noooo. Sam is a little TSTL (too stupid to live) -- there were times when I was rooting for the alligators to come and get her.

The bottom line here is that this tale of romantic suspense has some romance but no tension whatsoever. So while the romance earns three points, the suspense earns only one and this Tall, Dark, and Deadly story gets a two-star/heart rating.

--Judith Flavell

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