Powerful drama and riveting emotional tension are hallmarks of Ms. Willis Walker's exceptional work. Her latest thriller, ALL THE DEAD LIE DOWN focuses on the frighteningly destructive power of unchecked obsession.

While covering the events leading up to a vote on the new Texas Gun Bill, true crime reporter Molly Cates is rudely reminded of her painful past when she spots a very unwelcome face. Molly's father Vernon Cates died from a gun shot wound 25 years ago. The death was ruled a suicide, but 16-year-old Molly refused to believe it and insisted it was murder. At 21, she was married with a young child, Molly careened emotionally and mentally off the deep end while continuing her quest to find the truth about the incident. The obsession cost Molly her marriage and her self respect.

Seeing corrupt and incompetent former sheriff Olin Crocker opens another unhealed wound. To her ex-husband (but current lover) Grady's dismay, Molly decides to follow a piece of new information that has suddenly surfaced. With her preoccupation with her past, Molly nearly misses a terrifying incident. One of the bag ladies Molly has been interviewing for another article overhears a plot by an extremist organization to detonate nerve gas in the Texas Senate. Is what Sarah Jane Hurely overheard real or a hoax? Molly had better find out quick, for there could be hundreds of lives at stake.

(May, 294 pp., $22.95)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith