Avery Chauvin returns to hometown of Cypress Springs, Louisianna to investigate the suicide of her Dr. father by fire. Childhood friends including twin brothers try to console her and explain away the suicide but Avery soon begins to doubt their explainations. A box of newspaper clippings her father saved starts her on the path of a long ago murder of a young housewife. One brother, Matt, wants her to focus on their romance and continue it from their high school days while the other, Hunter, tries to win her heart even as he tries to avoid getting involved because of Matt. There is also the disappearance and murder of a number of people in the small town which keeps growing. Most of the people murdered were investigating the rumour of a group called The Seven who strive to keep their small town free of any crimes. Hunter must also deal with his parents and sister who shun him. Meanwhile Gwen appears, looking for her brother who has vanished while investigating The Seven. Avery refuses to acknowlege this group of vigilantes who may be involved in a number of the murders until Gwen convinces her but then Matt explains away this group in a very convincing way. Gwen convinces, Matt comes up with reasonable explanations that his parents agree with. Hunter and Matt finally come to a confrontation and now Avery doubts Hunter's motives. Meanwhile, The Seven silence a returning prostitute permanently and not gently! Gwen almost meets the same fate. Avery calls on her skills as an investigative reporter to track down the truth and almost loses her life in a very bizarre ending in a deserted factory.
This report prepared by Darlene Magdaluyo
Mira, Jun 2003, 23.95, 384 pp.
Following the suicide of her beloved father, reporter Avery Chauvin returns home to Cypress Springs, Louisiana feeling guilt for not being there for him. Her former beau Deputy Sheriff Matt Stevens says her father suffered from grief and depression following the death of his wife. Also back in town is Matt's twin brother Hunter, a lawyer who almost was debarred for alcoholism.
Avery finds news clippings her father kept involving a murder that occurred in town fourteen years ago. She begins to wonder about her father's death though the arson examiner and the coroner insist all evidence point to suicide due to depression. However, another town visitor Gwen Lancaster searches for her missing brother and tells Avery about a conspiracy by a local group the Seven to kill outsiders and who probably murdered her dad. As Avery falls in love with Hunter, she endangers herself in a quest to find the truth about the fourteen-year-old murder and its relationship to her dad. She also wonders if her beloved Hunter or his father (her godfather) Police Chief Buddy is the killer?
Though the leap Avery makes to suspect foul play seems ingenuous, readers will relish this taut thriller with a Hitchcockian climax. Avery is a great female character who feels guilt and grief and also doubts the veracity of those who allegedly love her. Back flashes show her father as a caring person suffering from his own guilt. The secondary players provide strength to the terse plot that romantic suspense readers will welcome.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner