The latest case for homicide investigator Lucinda Pierce, who’s slowly learning to cope with the facial deformities left by a shotgun, marks another step on her road to recovery.
The crime scene features a woman shot in the head who has been lovingly laid out on a bed and a man found in the adjoining bathroom minus his head and hands. The woman is Jeanine Sterling, but is her companion in death her husband Parker? Both Jeanine’s mother Victoria and her brilliant 13-year-old grandson Freddy claim that Parker left the body of a stranger to cover his disappearance, and not for the first time. The grandmother is involved in mysticism and is heavily influenced by her much younger boyfriend, Jason. Down-to-earth Lucinda is very interested in Jason, who can’t be found, and PR person Pamela Godfrey, whose DNA is discovered at the scene. Physical evidence shows that Freddy is Jeanine’s son but not Parker’s. When Freddy is kidnapped, Pierce’s FBI friend Jake Lovett joins the team. Good thing, because Pierce must cope with two deaths in her own dysfunctional family; a number of men including Jake who love her despite her facial scars; and a complicated case that turns on an unusual motive for murder.
Despite a case with some elements that beggar belief, Lucinda (Punish the Deed, 2009, etc.) is such a strong heroine that she should engage many readers.