In 1987, P.I. Louis Kincaid finds the skull of a child on the beach after a hurricane batters the Florida Straits and Sanibel-Captiva Islands. The police tell him there's little chance of identifying the 50-year-old skull, but the chief hires Kincaid to look into the murder of Shelly Umber, whose body washed up shortly after the hurricane.

Kincaid is also hired by Diane Woods to investigate her father, Frank, a man she believes murdered two women because he kept the clippings reporting their disappearances. One woman has been missing for over 30 years, but the other is Shelly. Kincaid learns that Frank, a fiftysomething librarian, leads a rather routine life, until he disappears. Louis tracks him to an island, but Frank vanishes once again.

Through his discovery of a coral ring and research books at Woods' home, Kincaid pieces together the man's mysterious past. The stunning conclusion of this cleverly intricate plot will leave readers eagerly seeking Parrish's other novels. (Jan., 382 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick