"Shock," "Envy" and "Mercy" are not only enticing ingredients in mysteries -- they're titles of new whodunits.
The books -- by Robin Cook, Sandra Brown and Julie Garwood, respectively -- are among the latest hardcover novels of mystery and suspense, which include a Stephen King-Peter Straub collaboration, and a book each by Ed McBain and Sara Paretsky.
In "Shock" (Putnam), Cook's latest medical thriller, two college coeds sell their eggs to an infertility clinic offering to shell out plenty of money. A few years later, they become curious about the fate of the eggs and suspicious about the clinic's motives. So the women -- one a computer whiz, the other a microbiologist -- try to crack the case by working undercover at the clinic.
Brown offers a thriller about a thriller in "Envy" (Warner). Maris, book editor for a New York publisher, is fascinated by an unsolicited partial manuscript and tracks down the elusive author -- identified only as P.M.E. -- to a rundown plantation on a remote island in Georgia. As she edits the book, Maris suspects that the novel -- the story of a boating excursion that leaves with three passengers and returns with only one -- is more fact than fiction.
Garwood, best known for her many historical novels, offers her second mystery in "Mercy" (Pocket). Attorney Theo Buchanan suddenly becomes ill in New Orleans and is treated by physician Michelle Renard. Recovered and determined to see her again, Buchanan locates Renard's bayou clinic but finds it ransacked. He learns that a secret criminal society of four white-collar professionals is looking for her, believing she has information that could destroy them.
"Black House" (Random House) is the second collaboration by King and Straub, who teamed up for "Talisman" (1984). In a small town in Wisconsin, a series of gruesome murders are reminiscent of ones committed several years earlier by a madman dubbed "The Fisherman." The police chief seeks help from Jack Sawyer, a retired Los Angeles police detective, who as a young boy saved his mother's life by entering a parallel universe.
A corpse straddles two precincts in "Money, Money, Money" (Simon & Schuster), McBain's 51st novel in the "87th Precinct" series. Detective Steve Carella of the 87th must coordinate the investigation with his counterpart at the 88th, "Fat Ollie" Holmes. The murder victim's body is found in the lions' cage at the zoo, and a search of her apartment uncovers several expensive furs and wads of cash in marked bills.
In "Total Recall" (Delacorte), Paretsky's Chicago private eye, V.I. Warshawski, is working on two cases that don't seem related at first. In one, a low-income family is having trouble collecting an insurance claim. Meanwhile, Warshawski tries to learn the true identity of a man whose dubious claim to be a Holocaust survivor is causing grief for another survivor, Warshawski's friend and mentor.
In another book, a recently widowed college professor investigates the disappearance of her neighbor, whose father-in-law is a mobster, in "Long Time No See" (HarperCollins) by Susan Isaacs.
And Melanie Travis searches for a fellow dog-handler, who is coordinating the wedding of Travis' brother, in "Once Bitten" (Kensington) by Laurien Berenson.
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