Laurie Kenyon, a senior at Drew University, has an obsession - English professor Alan Grant, a married man. After watching him and writing him passionate love letters, Alan is found stabbed to death. Laurie's fingerprints are on the door, Alan's desk and the murder weapon.
For her ninth sure-fire bestseller, Clark returns to what she does best: using a threatened child (this time, a regressive college-student traumatized by a childhood kidnapping) to grab you by the throat and shake well. Back in 1974, four-year-old Laurie Kenyon was abducted from her posh New Jersey home by Bic and Opal Hawkins, a pair of hippies who raped and terrorized her for two years before the heat got so close they turned her loose. Now she's an honor student at Clinton College who unwittingly harbors four personalities - sexy Leona, truculent Kay, fouryear-old Debbie, and a nine-year-old boy - that she's developed to keep her childhood memories at bay. Meanwhile, her kidnappers have transformed themselves into TV preachers on the brink of stardom who keep putting scary photos, knives, and severed chicken heads in Laurie's way in case she recognizes them and wants to speak out. The flash point comes with the murder of personable prof Allan Grant, who'd just gone before the administration with proof that the steamy letters from Leona he'd been getting were typed on Laurie's typewriter. When Laurie finds herself standing over Grant unable to remember whether or not she killed him, it's up to big sister Sarah, fanatically dedicated to protecting Laurie, to quit the D.A.'s office, take charge of Laurie's defense, and incidentally begin a chaste romance with Justin Donnelly, who's trying to tease the truth out of all those alter egos even as Bic Opal step up their campaign from threats to violence. Not enough menace for you? Clark even throws in the mystery of who really killed Grant, though her heart's not in it: broad hints from the outset will tip off all but the most witless readers. No whodunit, then - but Clark's legion of fans, enthralled by her undeniable skill in pushing their buttons, won't even notice. Just be grateful the author isn't running for office. (Kirkus Reviews)