P.I. Carlotta Carlyle has a scintillating mystery to solve when she investigates the disappearance of 15-year-old Paolina, a young woman who's like a little sister to her. Searching her most likely hangouts in Boston yields nothing, but Carlotta does find a small, golden, Pre-Columbian statue in her room.

Paolina's father, Roldan, turns out to be a Colombian well known for his ties to the illegal drug trade, and Carlotta worries that the girl has run away to search for her father in that country's treacherous countryside. With the help of Mooney, a friend from the Boston police department, Carlotta follows a lead that takes her to Miami and, later, Colombia. In her most sinister case yet, Carlotta soon finds that her own life is in danger, and she may not be any closer to finding Paolina.

Riveting and suspenseful, Barnes' latest explores the underbelly of the drug trade, from the high flyers of Miami to the inhabitants of Colombia's densest jungles. Adding intrigue is Carlotta's relationship with boyfriend Sam Gianelli, a man with mysterious ties to the mob. This intense mystery will grip readers from the very first page to its enticing conclusion. (May, 336 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick