A brassy, sassy, neurotic Sarasota attorney returns to her backwater hometown to solve a murder and save her mother’s life.
Since fleeing Bugfest after high school, Lilly Belle Rose Cleary (Bone Valley, 2006, etc.) hasn’t looked back. The tiny South Georgia town has too much dirt and insect life for her clean-freak taste, and the elaborate courtesies and delusions of the Old South don’t suit the urban New South efficiency she’s adopted. But when Cleary is told that her mother, agoraphobic Willette, has shot a man, she jumps in her car and makes the drive home. She finds her mother overmedicated into a coma-like state; her beloved grandmother’s house sold to a suspiciously slick hospital administrator; and several longtime residents threatened by a dubious lakefront resort development. A pair of unwanted swains provide incidental annoyance, but they’re upstaged by the realization that someone is trying to kill Willette before she can wake up and tell everyone what really happened. Before she and her African-American best friend Shalonda can sort out everything that’s rotten in Bugfest, they’ll be involved with fire ants, smuggling, bribery and kidnapping. But Cleary never loses her gift for wry self-mockery, as when she confides that “what had me worried was how quick I was getting down to my last box of Save the Forest Organic Trail Mix Bars.”
Breezy and fun.