St. Martin's, Dec 2001, 24.95, 352 pp.
Not that many people start life anew at fifty-four, but Claire Gray is one person who did. Claire was once the toast of Broadway as an award winning director and playwright, but relocates to Palm Desert to manage the Desert Arts College Theater. Mega-millionaire Glenn Yeats recruited the most talented people including Claire to chair the departments at the school.
At a welcoming party hosted by Glenn, Claire meets and hits it off with fellow chair Paul and his wife Jodie. When Paul needs a ride from the airport, Claire volunteers to take him. Upon arriving at his home, they find Jodie dead with her valuable wedding ring missing. Claire becomes obsessed with the case and soon proves quite competent at finding clues. She is so good the lead investigator officially adds her to his team.
While it seems implausible for a police officer to allow a civilian to help in a homicide case, the heroine's mindset and actions will make believers out of readers. Michael Craft provides an intense tale with appealing characters that the audience will want back in future novels. DESERT AUTUMN appears to be the first novel in
what has the potential of being a great series.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner