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Four moon gifAvon Books (Hardcover), ISBN 0380977699
For all those obsessive/compulsive radio talk show listeners, Rochelle Krich's mystery novel Dead Air is the book for you. Doctor Laura, move over. Doctor Renee sets the airways abuzz with her fast-food approach to psychology. Sometimes her quick fixes hit the mark. More often, they wound and separate dysfunctional families into camps of spiteful enemies. But the ratings climb while she offers her two-minute takes of marriages and relationships based on her puritanical, ethic-driven philosophy.  

Book: Rochelle Krich, Dead AirYet Doctor Renee Altman, a classic narcissist whose personality gives new meaning to the phrase "pain in the butt," deserves our sympathy. Her husband Barry whines and fights dirty in their battles for custody of their daughter, Molly. Renee balances on the edge of hysteria when she receives a package from her stalker. Yet, she bravely plays the game with a crazed caller to save her daughter's life. 

Lucky for Renee, her long-forgotten best friend and confidant from high school, Jessie Drake, serves and protects as an LA police detective. Jessie reluctantly searches for Renee's stalker, but her investigation quickly escalates when someone murders Renee's nanny and kidnaps Molly. 

The sniveling Barry leads the list of suspects. But don't dismiss the angry listener whose family Doctor Renee decimated in a judgmental on-air advice session. With the clock ticking on Molly's life, Jessie and Renee frantically attempt to uncover the abductor's identity. 

Book: Rochelle Krich, Blood MoneyRochelle Krich presents a plot reminiscent of an early Mary Higgins Clark novel, featuring disappearing children, psycho abductors, domestic abuse and frantic, but strong mothers and women. Krich could stop right here in her fourth Jessie Drake mystery and still afford readers a good, strong novel. But Krich backs up this high-tension plot with thorough research and striking characterizations.  

Shock Jock Stuart Logan rants, Renee's husband whines, the villain sneers, and each voice remains distinct and believable. The detectives' investigation moves forward in a realistic cause-and-effect progression. Jessie's personal relationships continue to present difficult choices, in addition to her ongoing struggle over accepting her newly discovered Jewish roots.  

Krich hits her stride with this novel. She couches each clue in an integral part of the plot, never throwing in scenes to act as vehicles for red herrings and information. Her writing flows and unfolds, never interfering with the story she's telling. Her moral and religious themes give readers a nudge. Watch for more fine writing from this "Queen of Mystery" contender and savor this psychologically suspenseful police procedural. 

Dawn Goldsmith

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