The Seatle police suspect Madison Leiberman's father was the serial killer they called the "Sandpoint Strangler". Madison refuses to believe it. Her father is now dead, due to a suicide, and all she wants is the chance to create a new life for herself and her six year old daughter. Two years after her fathers death, Madison discovers something in the basement of her parent's house. Something that makes her question her fathers innocence or the innocence of other family members.
When crime writer Caleb Trovato's ex-sister-in-law turns up dead, Caleb wonders weather they're dealing with a copycat killer or if the real Sandpoint Strangler is still alive? Caleb is sure Madison knows more than she's telling and he's determined to find out what. But he doesn't expect to fall in love or to draw the killer's intention toward Madison and her daughter.
This report prepared by Greg Bryant
Harlequin, Feb 2004, 6.50, 384 pp.
The Seattle police felt that Ellis Purcell committed the serial murders of eleven women though they never found the evidence to prove their case. The investigation went cold when Ellis, dubbed the Sandpoint Strangler, committed suicide. His adult daughter Madison firmly still believes he was innocent. Her marriage to Danny ended and she struggles to raise her six year old daughter Brianna by herself while trying to make a go of it in real estate. However, Madison's belief in her dad is shook when she finds evidence in her parents' attic that links him to the murders of the women.
At about the same time that Madison finds damaging proof of her father's guilt, true crime author Caleb Travato, who was a cop on the Strangler task force, leaves San Francisco for Seattle to help his ex-wife Holly find her missing sister Susan. He rents a cottage on Madison's property, but hides his identity from her because he knows she will toss him out. As he searches for the missing Susan and tries to learn what his landlady is hiding, Caleb falls in love with Madison and she reciprocates. As the Strangler truth shockingly surfaces, Madison knows he must reveal his identity to his beloved and her daughter whom he cherishes as his own, but realizes that she may never trust him again.
Though the Strangler seems too weird, fans will be grateful for this terse romantic suspense with the emphasis on the tension. Except perhaps for self-centered dopy Danny, the cast makes the story line as readers will like the responsible caring lead couple and appreciate the support players especially the “hopelessly” clinging Holly, Brianna and her widowed grandma, and a tough cop. The audience will receive plenty of satisfaction from Brenda Novak's high octane serial killer tale.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner