Scribner, May 2003, 24.00, 304 pp.
After some heavy rains, a woman's body is found in the drainage sewer at the exclusive Riveria Country Club. The woman was badly beaten and her body tied to two cinder blocks so that she would sink without a trace. LAPD detective Mace St. John, back on the job after suffering a heart attack four months ago, leads the investigation. He learns the victim is Jane Ferran.
When he looks at her file he sees Munch Mancini's face with Jane's name underneath it. When he goes to question Munch, she tells him that she used her friend's name when she was arrested for a DUI. Munch has a feeling one of her druggie friends from years ago might have killed Jane but she can't tell Mace about it because she would implicate herself in a decade old triple homicide.
Munch is an ex-druggie, a recovering alcoholic and a former prostitute but she has turned her life around. She goes to AA meetings, has an adopted daughter and has a good job working as a mechanic in Brentwood. She is a role model for people who want to start over and make something of his or herself. The perpetrator of the murder will come as a shock to the reader because everyone involved in the case is missing a vital piece of information. Barbara Seranella, known for her urban noir thrillers, once again has created a realistic who-done-it that is both exciting and poignant.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner