Alicia Maldonado, deputy D.A. of Monterey County, CA, may have landed the case that could make her career: the murder of golden boy Daniel Gaines, who recently announced his candidacy for governor.

Tough and self-assured, Alicia is a likeable protagonist who achieved success through grit and determination. While initially attracted to reporter Milo Pappas, she's reluctant to fall for his charms, fearing he's using her just to get a scoop on the investigation. Complicating matters, the deceased's wife, Joan—the daughter of a former governor and senator—is Milo's ex-girlfriend.

The Joan/Milo/Alicia love triangle is a recipe for disaster, as Joan tries to destroy both Alicia's and Milo's careers. Maybe Joan's alibi for the night of her husband's murder isn't as airtight as previously thought. Was an environmental activist actually framed for Daniel's murder?

Dempsey's low-on-glamour depiction of the D.A.'s office is on the mark, lending much credibility to this suspenseful novel. The romantic sparring between Alicia and Milo sparkles with wit and adds sensuality to this sizzling, tension-filled mystery. (Aug., 416 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick