Despite pleas from his boss and mentor, Texas Ranger Jack Kittrick is reluctant to return to work. His inability to save a child's life during his last case has left him haunted by nightmares. However, a serial killer may be on the loose at San Antonio General Hospital, and since Jack has the skills to go undercover, he acquiesces.

One prime suspect is Dr. Roman Hollander whose views on the use of extended life support are widely known. All the children who died were ones suffering from severe mental and/or physical trauma. Could this be a case of doctor mercy killing?

Attorney and medical ethics expert Maggie Wainwright is another lead suspect. From the moment she beans him with a baseball, Jack finds himself fascinated and attracted by this woman. A widow for the past 10 years, Maggie is filled with guilt, remorse and grief over the horrible events of a decade ago. Maggie's mother-in-law Victoria Wainwright holds her responsible for her son and husband's death. But does this make her capable of murder? Horrified when she realizes she and Roman head up the suspect list, Maggie will have to expose her darkest secrets to help Jack uncover the truth.

HEARTBEAT is an extremely taut and emotionally wrenching novel of romantic suspense. Joan Johnston continues to prove that she is an expert storyteller in all the genres she tackles. (Sep., 384 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith