Tess Smith of Roswell, New Mexico, is a reporter for the National Eye Opener and used to investigating cases of aliens and Bigfoot. Now she's trying to help a young friend and hindering FBI Special Agent Virgil Connor's investigation. He needs his federal witness to back, even if he is only 9 years old, and Connor's exasperated by the seemingly wacky Tess. Harper Allen's DESPERADO LAWMAN (4.5) mixes serious elements with scintillating chemistry and amusing moments— and the heroine's profession offers an interesting backstory. At times, this tale lapses slightly into melodrama, but overall, it's an extremely well-written story.