One of America's most mesmerizing storytellers, Luanne Rice enthralls readers with her moving tales of ordinary people in crisis--and how they are transformed by the enduring power of love and family. Now the author of Safe Harbor, True Blue, and other New York Times bestsellers presents the gripping story of a man fighting for his family, a woman searching for her sister--and the promise of a new life where both least expected it...The Secret Hour
When Kate Harris shows up at his door right after someone throws a brick through his window, defense lawyer and single father John O'Rourke can't decide whether she brings help or more trouble. In fact, she brings both in Rice's latest family drama (after True Blue; Summer Light; etc.) set on the Connecticut shore. John's client Greg Merrill, "The Breakwater Killer," on death row for a series of brutal seaside murders, is responsible for both Kate's arrival and the brick: John's neighbors resent his efforts to save the confessed criminal's life, while Kate wants the lawyer's help in determining whether Merrill killed her sister, who disappeared much like the killer's other victims, but whose body has never been found. In her quest, Kate falls not just for John but also for his children, Maggie and Teddy, as they grieve for their mother, recently killed in a car accident. John grieves, too, so bothered by memories of his wife's adultery he does not see what his children see-that Kate is just what the O'Rourke family needs. Familiar Rice themes of isterhood, loss and the healing power of love are spotlighted, but Rice's interest in the human psyche has its dark side as well, demonstrated by her creation of a rogue psychologist who subverts the ethics of his profession. Since Rice's fiction often serves as beach reading, it is appropriate that the shore scenes, including a cinematic climax in an old lighthouse, should be among the novel's strongest. Rice's heartfelt personal tone and the novel's cunningly deranged villain make this a smooth-flowing and fast-paced effort, with justice served all around at the satisfying if predictable conclusion. (Feb. 4) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 31, 2002
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Excerpt from The Secret Hour by Luanne Rice
The kitchen was quiet. The kids were trying so hard to help. Sitting at the breakfast table, his back to the cove, John O'Rourke tried to concentrate on the legal brief he'd stayed up last night finishing. Maggie buttered a piece of toast and slid it across the table. He accepted it, nodding thanks. Teddy hunched over the sports section, scowling at the scores, as if all his teams had lost. Brainer, the dog, lay under the table, growling happily as he gnawed an old tennis ball.
"Dad," Maggie said.
"Are you finished reading yet "
"Not quite, Mags."
"Is it about Merrill "
John didn't respond at first, but his stomach twisted in a knot. He thought about his eleven-year-old daughter knowing about Greg Merrill, his all-time most time-consuming client, the Breakwater Killer, the star of Connecticut's death row and, as such, the talk of barrooms and courtrooms everywhere. John wanted people talking; it was part of his strategy. But he didn't want his daughter knowing.
"It is, honey," he said, lowering the brief.
"Are they going to kill him, Dad "
"I don't know, Maggie. I'm trying to make it so they don't."
"But he deserves it," Teddy said. "For killing those girls."
"Everyone's innocent till proven guilty," Maggie intoned.
"He admits he's guilty," Teddy said, lowering the sports section. "He confessed." At fourteen, he was tall and strong. His eyes were too serious, his smile a shadow of the grin he used to flash before his mother's death. Sitting across the wide oak table, John reflected that Teddy would make a fine prosecutor.
"He did," John said.
"Because he did those things--murdered girls, ruined families. He deserves what's coming to him. Everyone says he does, Dad."