The Switch

Sandra Brown, Author Warner Books Inc $32 (480p) ISBN 978-0-446-52703-3
With some 60 novels, including 40-plus bestsellers already to her credit, it seems a sure bet that this new romantic thriller will not blemish Brown's phenomenal track record. On a whim, the same day she is artificially inseminated at a Dallas fertility clinic, Gillian Lloyd switches places with her identical twin sister, Melina, a professional celebrity escort assigned to chauffeur astronaut Col. Christopher Hart (or ""Chief,"" as he is called by his NASA cohorts because his mother was a Native American). It's lust at first sight. Swept away by Chief, Gillian is caught up in a marathon frenzy of lovemaking in his hotel room. Slipping out in the wee hours of the night, she is found brutally butchered in her own bed the next morning. From an obscene blood-smeared scrawl on the bedroom wall, her sister realizes that the killing was related to Gillian's love tryst with the astronaut. Hours later, the killer, an employee at the fertility clinic, commits suicide. The resulting investigation connects him to Brother Gabriel, the charismatic, egomaniacal leader of a powerful TV religious cult who is mysteriously linked in turn to artificial insemination clinics nationwide. Determined to avenge Gillian's murder, Melina and Chief become the targets of professional assassins masquerading as FBI agents. Potential witnesses are murdered as the trail eventually leads the pair (now fighting to keep their hands off each other) cross-country to Brother Gabriel's mountain stronghold in the remote reaches of New Mexico. Displaying her talents for fast pacing and tricky plotting, Brown delivers one of her patented twists in the denouement, setting the scene for a breathy, rose-colored climax. 700,000 first printing; major ad/promo. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/28/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
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