Harvest House, 2004, 10.99, 359 pp.
Several years ago, Callie and her husband Bryan were on the Appomattox River in Virginia, when a drunken speedboat driver killed the latter. The driver James Sparks pleaded guilty and was sentenced to sixteen years in prison. At first Callie did not want to live, but over time with the help of a friend private investigator Eli Gold she regained her equilibrium. Eli got Callie a job as a researcher at the J.O.S.H.U.A. Foundation investigating nonprofit organizations that apply for grants. Though she still mourns her loss, she has a new beau, Tom Bennett, a code breaker for the National Security Agency.
Callie overhears Tom tell Eli he loves her and wants to marry her, but must tell her the truth about Bryan. Eli reminds him that would be an NSA security breach. Stunned, Callie later confronts Tom, who claims national security so she begins to investigate her late husband's life and death. Her inquiries take her from her Maryland Eastern Shore home to Louisiana where she seeks the truth although someone is stalking her with murder in mind.
The fifth “Million Dollar” mystery, THE BUCK STOPS HERE, is a terrific tale that completes the circle started with the first novel. The story line is electrifying, but character driven as Callie needs to know if her second true love had something to do with the death of her first true love.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner