The author's strong, often silent heroine, Lily Bard, and Shakespeare, Arkansas, her adopted hometown, in a second appearance (Shakespeare's Landlord
, 1996). Lily cleans houses for a living and works out at the Body Time Gym. There, early one morning, she and young Bobo Winthrop discover the body of fitness enthusiast Del Packard—crashed by a weight-laden bar. Accident or murder? Police Chief Claude Freidrich, Lily's neighbor and would-be lover, doesn't have a clue. Meanwhile, Packard's death seems yet more evidence of the town's sinister atmosphere, a sense of unease going back to the not-long-ago beating death of black Darnell Glass and the killing, a few weeks later, of white farmer Lee Elgin—neither murder ever solved. Now, the racist fliers placed in car windows around town don't help. Then there's the pony-tailed stranger seen with Hollis Winthrop Jr.—one of Lily's employers and head of his family's lucrative sporting-goods business now that patriarch Hollis Sr. has retired. A frightening act of violence in the black community church prompts the stranger to reveal his tree identity to Lily, and it's she, with help from an unexpected source, who rescues him as the whole ugly scenario unravels. Wheels within wheels in a suspenseful story packed with nasty characters, a few good guys, some graphic sex, and more exercise and karate lore than you ever wanted to know. Lily's stubborn, moody, gutsy persona holds it all together, and most readers will be with her to the finish.
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