HIS ONLY DEFENSE
After hostage negotiator Liz Gibson is shot in the line of duty and traumatized by the death of a hostage, she meets builder Jud Slaughter while investigating cold cases for the sheriff's department. Jud was accused of murdering his wife years earlier, but the case went cold due to the lack of a body and evidence. Attracted to the builder, Liz wonders at first about her impartiality, then realizes Jud isn't the type of man to have planned his wife's cold-blooded murder. Carolyn McSparren's His Only Defense (4.5) is terrifically well written and suspenseful. Her characters -- and her story -- have great depth.