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Familiar Heat

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This rich, thick confection has all the right ingredients: infidelity, amnesia, and sharks. Mary Hood can even make a delicious treat out of something as small as a housekeeper’s embarrassment at being kind to a stray cat. But novels, like meals, have to add up to more than a collection of memorable morsels. A young Florida wife is kidnapped and raped. Her husband acts monstrously. She loses her memory. Two brothers square off in a cemetery. And these chiseled moments just…drift. Hood does bring up fascinating issues of memory (who are you if you can’t remember your past? Now prove your answer), but by then the book’s half over. Still, her individual anecdotes are delicious enough to earn Familiar Heat a satisfying B.