The jacket for Sidney Sheldon's new thriller boasts that it is "based on actual medical evidence." But that's not the only reason it all seems so tiresomely familiar. The story centers on Ashley Patterson, a twenty-something graphic designer with a tortured past she can't really remember, a propensity for mental blackouts and a near-constant terror that she is being stalked. When several men who cross her path turn up brutally murdered—and her DNA is found at every crime scene—she finds herself facing the death penalty for crimes she swears she didn't commit.
Sheldon holds out the explanation as a dramatic revelation, but amateur psychologists will probably guess the book's big secrets early on. The trial scenes are intriguing, and, as always, Sheldon's fast-moving prose is addictively readable. But despite the inclusion of an appendix listing scholarly citations and research organizations, the novel feels shallow, which only serves as a reminder of how this story has been told better elsewhere. (Morrow, $26)