A madman with a crazed interpretation of the Wiccan religion has murdered five women in Mariposa, a small town bordering Yosemite National Park.

When Air Force captain Arden Jones learns of her sister's disappearance she rushes to Mariposa to help find her. Sheriff Bill Ashton, busy tracking the apparent serial murderer, is not pleased to have an Air Force officer from Los Angeles poking her nose into his investigation.

Schaefer's description of the Yosemite area and her realistic portrayal of rural life are well done, but the book's romantic elements often seem forced—for example, Schaefer describes how Ashton's voice "hummed along (Arden's) nerve endings like a low- voltage shock" during their initial telephone conversation, when Ashton reports that he has located Arden's car.

Although the plot is unusual, excessive narration makes it difficult to empathize with the main characters and slows the pace of the story. (Dec. '00, 294 pp., $14.00)
Reviewed by: 
Roseann Marlett