Life is good for Munch Mancini. The former junkie turned auto mechanic has settled into a happy domestic routine with her inquisitive adopted daughter, Asia. They've even bought a dog. But Munch is soon onto another dangerous sleuthing mission when her estranged niece Charlotte disappears.
The mixed-up teenager had sought out Munch for guidance but wasn't able to talk about her situation. Now Munch is playing catch-up, finding clues that link Charlotte's disappearance to the murders of two other teens and a burglary ring. To make matters more confusing, her ex-lover, Detective Rico Chacon, is on the caseand single again, after leaving her for his former girlfriend, who'd falsely claimed to be pregnant. Suddenly, Munch's life seems awfully complicated once more.
Seranella has crafted a unique, compelling heroine in the scarred, but growing Munch, and romance fans will be happy to see her reunited with Rico. In the seventh installment of this series, the final revelations happen mostly off the pages, making for a slightly less suspenseful climax, but the top-notch characterization satisfies. (May, 304 pp., $24.00)