When a missing-persons case puts some kinks in the relationship of private eye Lena Padget and her boyfriend, Kentucky cop Joel Mendez, the pair try to work out their differences amid an investigation into the disappearance of Cheryl Dunkirk, an intern at the ATF office rumored to be having an affair with married sheriff Cory Edgers.

Hired by Cheryl's stepfather, Lena's sensitive female nature gives her an edge when questioning those who knew the missing woman and those who are suspects. While she remains mistrustful of Cheryl's flighty stepsister and considers her the primary suspect, Lena's intuition tells her that all is not paradise in the marriage between Cory and wife Kate.

Fast-paced suspense abounds as the murders continue and Lena begins to believe that Cheryl's disappearance is connected to the murder of federal agents involved in the David Koresh Waco debacle. No one writes the convoluted twists of mystery quite like Hightower, as the true nature of crafty characters are revealed in the heart-stopping finale. (Sep., 320 pp., $24.00)

Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick