St. Martin's, July 2002, 24.95, 384 pp.
The Midnight Man is an arsonist, who drugs his victims and then sets fires to their homes, making it look like it was an accidental death. All told there were five victims but the police linked Bobby Alto to two of them. Defense attorney Raymond Lawless thought he could get his client off but the jury found him guilty and he lost on appeal.
Alto's father Conrad blames Raymond for his son's conviction and swears to get even. Raymond, his son Peter and his daughter Jane receive in the mail tarot cards. When the Lawless family compare notes, they believe somebody in the Alto family has targeted them. Jane, who hates to feel helpless investigates the family, a move that saves her and her sister in law from a sociopath killer.
The Jane Lawless mysteries just keep on getting better and better. In IMMACULATE MIDNIGHT, readers are given a glimpse into the lives of Jane's immediate family and this makes the audience fail a connection to the protagonists. As a counterpoint to the caring Lawless family, the Alto's are a dysfunctional disunity that readers will pity and detest. Ellen Hart has written another exciting amateur sleuth mystery.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner