Fern Michaels continues the Thornton family saga with VEGAS HEAT, the second in her new series.Greed, jealousy, love and hate make for an explosive brew that will bring readers deep into the heart of complex and absorbing family. I must admit, however, that I was a bit disturbed by the dramatic personality change displayed by one of the major characters.

Following the death of matriarch Sallie Coleman Thornton, her daughter-in-law Fanny picks up the reins and the traditions of the family. Fanny has created her own empire with two thriving businesses, Sunny's Togs and Rainbow Babies. Her ex-husband Ash, now wheelchair bound, is running the family casino Babylon with the help of their children, Sunny, Birch and Sage.

Meanwhile, Fanny has married her long time love Simon, Ash's twin brother. The family is divided when Ash and Birch close out the family on an important deal. After the fallout, it is left up to Fanny to rescue and run the casino which she hates.

With organized crime money moving in, Fanny must take a stand for independence. Her preoccupation with keeping the family businesses afloat will cost Fanny dear, as she and some of her children become estranged and her marriage shows serious strains.

The Thornton family has weathered blows before; can they pull together now or will the ties that bind them shatter irrevocably?

(Oct., 480 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith