RIDE A PAINTED PONY
Eagle's an expert at creating characters that seem ready to step off the page, a skill in evidence here. Yet despite the instant sympathy the reader has for Lauren and the story's touches of quirky humor, it fails to engage -- possibly because the pacing's off and the plot has a scattered feel.
Joey is actually well-known jockey Lauren Davis, once the lover of a criminal named Raymond Vargas.
Her life is still in danger because she's determined to reclaim the son she had with Vargas, but he wants to see her dead first.
(Dec., 320 pp., $24.95)