UNPAID DUES by Barbara Seranella
Kirkus Star


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When they run the fingerprints of the corpse found in a drainage ditch at the Riviera Country Club, LAPD detectives Mace St. John and Tony Cassiletti get back the name of Jane Ferrar, an ex-doper with an arrest record for prostitution, petty theft, and DUI. But when her rap sheet comes back with a picture of his good friend, mechanic Miranda “Munch” Mancini (No Man Standing, 2002, etc.), paper-clipped to it, St. John goes ballistic until he finds out that Munch—who’s alive and well, still working at Lou’s garage, dating sexy detective Rico Chacon, and lavishing love on her eight-year-old daughter Asia—once used Jane’s name to finesse her way out of that drunk-driving charge. What Munch doesn’t tell St. John is that on that momentous day ten years ago, she and New York Jane, along with Asia’s father, “Sleaze John” Garillo, and two other stoners named Deb and Thor, did a lot more than drive under the influence. Now Munch is afraid she’ll be dragged into an ancient murder investigation, seriously impairing her capacity to care for Asia and for Deb’s son Boogie, now grown up and living with Munch while his mother freaks out in Amsterdam. And if Jane’s murder isn’t solved, Munch’s corpse may be next. Caught in the middle, Munch struggles once again to outrun her past, balancing her longing for serenity against her need to let the truth be told.

Like a well-tuned engine, Seranella’s fifth glides perfectly right up to its elegant finish.

Pub Date: May 20th, 2003
ISBN: 0-7432-4500-8
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2003


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