Another spine-tingler of a thriller that's heavy on the creep factor is Alison Gaylin's Heartless. Zoe Greene covers soap operas for a celebrity rag, a not-so-glamorous job brightened up by the fact that she's secretly dating one of the stars. Things really get interesting when Zoe follows the celeb to his villa in San Esteban, Mexico.
As Zoe discovers, San Esteban is no ordinary town. Populated by counter-culture expats and New Age devotees, there's a mysterious energy to the place and plenty of dark secrets. Naturally, Zoe tries to find out exactly what's going on, putting herself at risk by doing so.
Heartless sometimes comes across a little over the top, with its black-magic rituals and cult full of hippies. But it's also suspenseful and even scary in parts. Zoe might be a little naive for a New York reporter, but she's a likable character and it's easy to care about what happens to her.
From the Chicago Sun-Times, September 21, 2008