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by Barbara Seranella

Pub Date: May 11th, 2004
ISBN: 0-7432-4558-X
Publisher: Scribner

Munch Mancini (Unpaid Dues, 2003, etc.) finds out that blood isn’t always thicker than water when she tries to help her adopted daughter Asia reunite with her cousins.

Family’s never meant much to Munch. Flower George, her father, sent her to turn tricks when she was 15; from there it was a short hop to addiction and life on the street. But now that she’s recovered, gainfully employed as a mechanic, and a parent, she wants her daughter to have everything she didn’t. So when prospective dad Garret Dimond doesn’t pan out (too boring), and hot cop lover Rico Chacon dumps her (his other girlfriend is pregnant), she gets Asia a loving and loyal cocker spaniel, then answers Aunt Lisa’s brusque message (“Call me, bitch”), hoping that some special family time will lift her daughter out of the doldrums. And Lisa’s 11-year-old daughter Jill is amazingly sunny in spite of her mother’s fly-by-night parenting style. But her teenaged sister Charlotte is disaffected goth whose sudden disappearance following the murder of classmate Steven Koon sends Munch to the cops. Which means to Rico, who promptly locks Lisa up on outstanding warrants. Now Munch has to care for Asia and Jill and protect the missing Charlotte from a shady character named Mouseman—all while wondering whether Rico, whose other girlfriend wasn’t pregnant after all, is the one.

Many intriguing byways pass by as Seranella coasts along in neutral.