Alternating laugh-out-loud humor with first-rate suspense, Hess' clever novel is both entertaining and masterful. She keeps readers in stitches, gradually exposing the culprits but keeping everyone guessing until the final page.

When Claire Malloy's apartment becomes infested with roaches and rodents, the Arkansas bookstore owner agrees to house-sit for a customer for a few days.

Initially, Claire is thrilled with her temporary residence, Dolly Goforth's very plush house, where she stays with her teenage daughter Caron and her friend Inez. But then a man's body keeps turning up—and subsequently going missing—and Dolly's long-lost nieces show up for a brief visit, something about their disabled-vehicle story just not ringing true. To make matters worse, Dolly seems to be hiding secrets of her own, and Claire soon ends up in danger.

(Apr., 302 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick