Adam B. Vary
April 09, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

This is the rare cop thriller that would be right at home in Oprah’s Book Club. Despite The Body of David Hayes‘ convoluted bank embezzlement intrigue and well-paced sting-within-a-sting plotting, we truly feel keyed in to how its characters feel. And boy, do they feel. Here’s Liz Boldt upon hearing from her ex-lover six years after he made off with $17 million of her bank’s money: ”Tears threatened behind a screaming in her ears. Fingernails on a blackboard.” Her husband, Lou, a veteran Seattle cop, upon learning Liz’s affair lasted longer than he’d thought: ”He carried the deadened countenance of a man poisoned by grief.” Ridley Pearson cares deeply for these characters, now in their ninth outing — and will never let them get away with their faults. Dr. Phil would be proud.

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