There’s always a guilty pleasure in reading books full of people who are disreputable. For one thing, you have the pleasure of knowing that you’re so much better than they are. Then there’s the pleasure of following their escapades as they do crazy stuff that you can only dream of. In Lori Foster’s latest, Trace of Fever, freelance gumshoe Trace Rivers has gone undercover to undo Murray Coburn, a goateed psychopath who’s made his money in human trafficking and owns just about everyone who thinks they have power. He’s one of those creeps it’s best to be very afraid of. Trace, not the most biddable of men himself, fears very little. He teams up with Priscilla Patterson, who claims to be Coburn’s daughter and has her own agenda with regard to the monster. Yet she and Trace turn out to have, if not soft spots, at least human spots—you will like them in spite of yourself.

Foster’s dialogue is snappy, the atmosphere noirish. Everyone is uncommonly beautiful save the bad guys, but even that’s not quite true; Coburn’s insanely evil henchwoman Helene is fairly good-looking in a feral, Amazonian sort of way. There’s a reason her nickname is “Hell.”

Trace of Fever is a sexy, suspenseful page-turner. 

Arlene McKanic writes from Jamaica, New York.

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