Mira, Sep 2004, 6.50, 384 pp.
Following a divorce from Stuart and the loss of her job as an assistant director of the tech-services department of a Kansas City firm, Zoey Jones accompanied by her fourteen years old daughter Claire returns to her hometown of Blytheville, Missouri. She works at her uncle's bar feeling like the cheese in a sandwich as she struggles with the rebellion of her teen, the interference and “raids” of her home improvement mom and the failing health of her dad.
Detective Lieutenant Hank Westlake persuades Zoey to go out with him. However, their first date since she left for college years ago turns ugly when her father is arrested for the murder of Marlowe and the robbery of convenience stores. Though the evidence is overwhelming, Zoey refuses to believe that her dad, a kind veterinarian, could do these felonies. She begins her own inquiries only to find the proof getting increasingly stronger that her father did the deeds even as she falls in love with the cop that will put him away for life.
Though the motive seems on the surface way out even with our failed health care system, amateur sleuth romance readers will treasure this fine tale due to a powerful caring cast. The story line moves out on two subplots: the investigation (unofficial and official) and the romance with both intertwining through the relationship (at times dysfunctional) between Zoey and Hank.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner