Madison "Maddy" Glenn is the gutsy, no-nonsense mayor of the lovely California coastal community of Santa Rita. She stands tall against a hostile but competent police chief, a pair of conniving council members and the ebb and flow of public life. But she is nearly bowled over when her friend, the treasurer of her last campaign, is kidnapped.
More kidnappings and a murder follow, all seemingly targeted at her by evidence left at the scenes. An attraction to the detective assigned to the case and the maneuverings of an old boyfriend complicate matters. Throw the distraught daughter and the dangerous ex-husband of one of the victims into the mix and Maddy wonders if she will survive to make the decision of whether to run for Congress or not.
Nifty plot twists and a strong lead character undergird this suspenseful tale. Laden with an overabundance of setting details and character background, the story sputters at first. The pace picks up further along and ends with a nail-chomping climax. However, the spiritual element seems to be more of a side issue than one that's integral to the story. (Oct., 352 pp., $12.99)
Jill Elizabeth Nelson