Wrongly convicted of bank robbery, Kat Wells gets a second chance thanks to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, which now claims to know she's innocent but basically strong-arms her into cooperating with their undercover investigation. Kat returns home to Twin Oaks ostensively on parole and starts work at her new job at the newspaper.

Kat is not the only person returning to Twin Oaks. Former football player turned cop Justin Radner is the new sheriff, and no sooner is he hired than he's tossed into a murder investigation when a woman's body is found in the woods. Kat's persistence as an investigative reporter helps Justin's investigation, but what neither of them realizes is that there may be a link to this woman's death and Kat's frame-up for the bank robbery. But this time "they" may not be content just to get her sent to prison.

Colorful characters who ooze both Southern charm and menace populate this gritty byzantine thriller. Plotting is one of Sawyer's strong points, and the twists of this story do not disappoint. (Jan., 384 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith