Impressive! This is a sharp-edged, well-plotted story that showcases Novak's superb storytelling skill. She holds the reader's interest despite revealing the truth about Clay's guilt or innocence early on, and that's quite a skill indeed.

Nineteen years ago, Reverend Lee Barker disappeared, and he's presumed dead. Farmer Clay Montgomery, Barker's stepson, is the man everyone in Stillwater believes got away with murder. But there's no proof, and despite rampant speculation and rumblings from Barker's relatives, the case remains unsolved. Then Chicago cold case detective Allie McCormick joins the Stillwater police and begins investigating.

Tough and street-wise, Allie's also emotionally vulnerable because of a bad divorce, and her attraction to the mysterious and slightly cranky Clay leaves her struggling to remain impartial. The more she learns about Barker, the more difficult it becomes. The good reverend was not the man he seemed to be, and neither is Clay. (MIRA, Feb., 448 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Catherine Witmer