Time Warner Books, £9.99

Tales of romance like 'A Walk to Remember', 'Message in a Bottle' and 'The Notebook' have made Nicholas Sparks a recognisable name on best-seller lists. His latest novel, 'True Believer', is another of those warm-hearted, feel good love stories, but it's also flimsy and predictable.

Cynical New York science journalist Jeremy Marsh accepts an invitation to investigate the cause of mysterious lights that appear in a cemetery in Boone Creek, North Carolina. Arriving in the small community, the sophisticated Jeremy finds himself the centre of attention. When he meets the town's librarian, Lexie Darnell, he finds his attention shifted away from the task at hand.

Lexie keeps her own feelings towards Jeremy in check because she fears getting hurt again, but she eventually learns, helped along by Jeremy's persistence, to love again. That's all there is to the book, which is its biggest problem.

There's little depth of emotion here. Sparks only ever scratches the surface of Jeremy's feelings about his earlier failed marriage and Lexie's sense of loneliness after past relationships. There's also a sense of inevitability that the pair will ultimately end up together.

Writing-by-numbers does not a gripping story make; Sparks needed a lot more depth here to flesh out the tale.

Katie Moten