P.I. Carlotta Carlyle is being stalkedby a Harvard professor who isn't doing a very good job of it. But it turns out that Wilson Chaney wants to hire her to find the person blackmailing him over his past affair with a student. He neglects to tell Carlotta that the student, Denali Brinkman, was burned beyond recognition in a suspicious fire.
During her investigation, Carlotta learns that the elusive Denali was not what she appeared. The university tries to thwart her efforts, and an ex-con who claims he was Denali's fiancé is killed in a hit-and-run, convincing Carlotta Wilson is being set up.
Barnes delivers a tightly written, suspense-filled novel. Nothing comes between Carlotta and a case, which may be why she has trouble in the romance department. The author also takes readers on a travelogue through Boston and Cambridge with ex-cabbie Carlotta. For nonstop action, this is a winner. (Mar., 320 pp., $24.95)