Forge, Aug 2002, 24.95, 304 pp.
Talba Wallis now has her private detective's license and works for E.V. Anthony Investigations. When her day job is finished she writes poetry and reads it in her persona as the Baroness de Pontalba. One day when she is tailing a cheating husband she gets into a car injury and feels pretty banged up. She pays a visit to healer Babalu Moya who make Talba feel as good as new.
The next time she hears about Babalu is when her boyfriend invites Talba to investigate his fiancÚ's supposed suicide. Since Talba doesn't think her friend was suicidal, she agrees to take the case. The answers she needs are in Babalu's hometown of Clayton and the residents there are engaged in a conspiracy of silence. The deeper Talba digs, the more feathers she ruffles until it reaches the point that she either quickly finds out who killed her friend or expect a life expectancy no longer than a week.
Julie Smith has written another exciting private detective thriller starring a colorful and clever protagonist who thinks she has all the answers or knows where to find them. The author is a master at characterizations, so much so that the audience will pity some of the minor characters for their weaknesses. The story line is fast paced and intricately plotted, a roller coaster rider of thrills and chills.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner