School psychologist Skye Denison is in the middle of a home-renovating mess in the eighth installment of Swanson's Scumble River series. Her contractor, Beau Hamilton, is easy on the eyes but not on the wallet. Shoddy workmanship and unfinished projects have Skye seeing red, but before she can fire Beau, he winds up dead.

Could the perpetrator be an old girlfriend, a long-lost daughter, or an unhappy customer? Skye starts pursuing suspects while dealing with an amorous police chief, a secretive brother and a meddling mother.

Scumble River is a joy to visit. Swanson breathes life into her characters and the setting. Skye is an intelligent and full-figured heroine who holds on tight to her independence, the mystery is fast-paced, with many potential suspects, and it wraps up nicely, with all the loose ends explained. (Aug., 272 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Sandra Martin