Forced into a life of prostitution to protect her past, Celeste Kennedy is freed when she inherits an old lover's house and half of a dried-up gold claim. To hold onto her new respectability, all she has to do is mail a letter.

When Fox MacPherson replies, she is surprised. He is as desperate as she is to find treasure in the defunct mine. While the almost ghost town holds its breath, Celeste and Fox form a wary team and get to work.

Their digging produces more than a pile of dirt; it draws a serial killer close to home. Celeste's dearest friends are dying one by one, while her partner proves to be more than she imagined.

Ms. Faulkner's novel is a gritty, suspenseful tale of two with nothing to lose and everything to again. Although her writing is excellent, the topics she explores may be too harsh for gentle readers as we journey through love, forgiveness and hope. SENSUAL (Apr., 317 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Anne Black