Jill Breck was just doing her job as a river guide when she saved the life of Lane Faroe, son of two of St. Kilda Consulting's premier operators. But when a string of ominous events—including a mysterious fire that kills her great-aunt and a furor in the Western art world raised by a dozen Breck family paintings—culminates in a threat to her life, Jill reluctantly calls in a favor.
Zach Balfour works part-time as a consultant for St. Kilda. His expertise is gathering and analyzing information from unlikely and often dangerous sources. Though he's got the skills to be a highly effective bodyguard, being a bullet catcher isn't his preferred way to spend time.
Protecting Jill will take him into familiar territory—among a strange, savagely competitive bunch of collectors who'll do anything to stay at the top. But Jill is in deeper waters than she's ever known; as she soon discovers, the perils of running wild rivers are tame compared with the hidden dangers in the high-stakes game of art collecting.
From the cozy rooms of the Breck homestead cabin to the cold multimillion-dollar galleries of the Western art circuit, Zach and Jill must race against time to unmask a ruthless killer hidden in a blue smoke of money, threats, lies, and death. . . .
"Eating disorders have the centripetal force of black holes," states Hornbacher, 23, midway through this riveting, startlingly assured account of her bout with anorexia and bulimia, a decade-long struggle that brought her to the brink of death at age 18 and left her with chronic physical ailments. The only child of the troubled union between a former theater director and his actress-turned-school-administrator wife, Hornbacher was bulimic by the age of nine and anorexic by 15, finding in masochistic self-denial a seemingly dependable--and quickly indispensable--way to control the anxiety that wracked her. Repeatedly hospitalized during high school, she studied briefly at American University while also working as a journalist, until the final crisis, when her weight dropped to 52 pounds and doctors gave her a week to live. Hornbacher's unblinking testimonial has the nuance and vividness of an accomplished novel, and is evenhanded enough to shake the whiff of solipsism that often clings to tales of personal woe. While her fluent prose occasionally seems too off-the-cuff, for all its apparent spontaneity her narrative supplies a wealth of information from varied psychologists and theorists, and she sensitively traces the crazy quilt of overlapping motivations and influences behind her disease. Eating disorders, she argues, are as much a biochemical addiction as a psychological disorder. While rooted in familial dysfunction, generational malaise and our national obsession with feminine thinness, these disorders quickly take on, she says, a life of their own. It is to Hornbacher's credit, and to readers' profit, that she eventually managed to kill the golem that had laid waste to her childhood and teenage years. First serial to New Woman; author tour; dramatic rights: Frances Goldin.