Dunne, Nov 2002, 23.95, 272 pp.
Governor Jack Garrett is one of the several Democratic Candidates running for the office of President. Twenty years ago, he was a smoke jumper whose bravery saved three men in an out of control forest fire on Pale Horse Mountain in Montana. His friend since childhood Wakely Fromm was severally injured in that fire leading to his being wheelchair bound. For the past two decades Jack has taken care of him.
When Jack and his campaign team come to Hampstead, Kansas, trouble follows. The wife of a man who was on Pale Horse Mountain when Jack was fighting the fire is found murdered in the trunk of her car. Her younger sister was badly injured by someone who broke into her home but with time she is expected to recover. Wakely is murdered in a homicide made to look like a suicide and if Police Chief Susan Wren finds the common link that ties these people together, she will have named her killer.
Charlene Weir weaves a tangled web that somehow is totally believable in turns of plots and characterizations. There are some very interesting sub-plots that enhance and ultimately run into the main storyline including a suicidal woman who finds she has much to live for when the killer tries to make her victim number five. In a classic turnabout, she is the one that finally confronts the killer and is doing so learns to cope with the loss of her husband and child at the hands of a drunken driver. UP IN SMOKE is a very creative work that gives readers an insider's look into a political campaign.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner