We like novels that are merely inspired by the weird crap that happens around here. It's a relief to read something we know isn't actually happening right now, probably right outside our window.
Arizona-raised best-selling author Brenda Novak delivers the goods with White Heat, about a possibly murderous couples-only cult and the Valley security expert who learns he has to work with his ex to expose and stop them. Novak's bio's nearly as gripping as her tales of romantic suspense, of which she's churned out 35 since 1999 using disciplined technique and one of the best motivations possible -- helping support her family of seven. She hosts an annual online auction to benefit diabetes research (the world's largest such event) and has admitted to Writer's Digest that she's addicted to e-mail. Girlfriend!
The plucky scribe ventures from her Sacramento base for a free reading and signing event at Changing Hands Bookstore.