Simon & Schuster, Feb 2001, 23.00, 288 pp.
As a defense lawyer with her own security firm, co-owned with Jake Graham, African-American Carol Ann Gibson lives the American dream. Carol and Jake have offices on both coasts and are so popular they have a large international clientele.
Their latest customer is the Caribbean nation Isle de Paix, who recently had a bloodless coup that replaced its Communist leader with an individual friendly to the West. The island country wants to become a tourist haven to build up its fledgling economy and top rate security is a must. Upon first glimpse, Carol Ann thinks she entered Eden, but though feeling idyllic, she sets out to enforce security and insures roads are built so that an infrastructure can begin to form.
However even paradise can be interrupted when snakes are about, especially since the road will destroy the lucrative cash crop marijuana. Soon a man keeps popping up who may be a dangerous felon or part of the DEA. Pirates seem to sail freely on all sides of the island, leaving Carol Ann to wonder what is going on and the determination to learn who is interfering with paradise.
The fantastic heroine is a believable person who wants to make the world a better place. Her partner is a hunk and the support cast (on the isle and in the courtroom) helps readers understand what drives Carol. The dynamic story line relegates race to a minor bar of local politics even as the reader obtains a different taste then normally seen of an island paradise. As usual, Penny Mickelbury escorts her audience on a tour of Paradise with this superbly written mystery.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner