THE WHISPERING ROOM
Stevens' swiftly-moving, intricately plotted story has oodles of twists and chills -- plus a jaw-dropping shocker of an ending. This is good stuff indeed.
A call to a crime scene proves to be anything but routine for New Orleans homicide detective Evangeline Theroux. The deceased is attorney Paul Courtland, and the cause of death is unusual -- snakebite. The mystery deepens when Evangeline learns that Courtland's brother died the same way. One of Courtland's ex-clients, drug dealer Sonny Betts, seems like a good suspect, but there's nothing to suggest he's guilty. Her scrutiny of Betts leads to Evangeline's removal from the investigation. She suspects he was connected to her husband's death, and the FBI doesn't want her digging too deeply into that.
Then a true-crime writer named Lena Saunders comes forward, claiming she has useful information -- and she won't speak to anyone but Evangeline. The tale Saunders tells is a wild one, and before long, Evangeline's a believer. But putting the pieces together quickly enough isn't going to be easy. (MIRA, Mar., 384 pp., $6.99)