Former cop turned successful attorney Chloe Ryder knows what it's like to be under suspicion. So when she learns of a gruesome murder at her church, she offers her support to parish priest Father Brendan Quinlan. Someone murdered 22-year-old parishioner Steve King and hung his body on the crucifix.

Tampa homicide detective Matthew Diel is disturbed by the inconsistencies in the case. First, Steve was murdered outside the church, but his body was moved twice before being discovered. Now someone is spreading unsubstantiated rumors about Father Brendan and he is getting threatening phone calls. Nothing makes sense, but Chloe, Matthew and Father Brendan start to suspect that current events may be linked to an incident that happened while Brendan worked as a Navy chaplain.

LAST BREATH is a dark and tautly engrossing thriller that weaves a complex web of intrigue. Lee has devised characters whose personal beliefs and faith ring true. The author is becoming quite a suspense maestro. (May, 320 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith