The sudden death of Gillian Rose, the creative force behind a billion-dollar dietary supplement empire, is a mystery that stymies even the L.A. police. By accident, TV anchorwoman Maxi Poole is one of the first people on the scene, and soon she's in the midst of the action—whether she likes it or not.

Turns out that an unusual sort of foul play was involved, and the suspects are plentiful: among them, Gillian's husband, his ambitious mistress and a wealthy entrepreneur from out of town. It's up to Maxi to put the ill-fitting puzzle pieces together and stop the guilty party from getting away with murder.

DEAD FILE is as witty and smart as Maxi Poole herself. Its strong plot is supported by skillfully rendered characterizations and some dead-on observations about the strange world we—and Maxi—live in. (Jul., 320 pp., $24.95)

Reviewed by: 
Catherine Witmer