Best-selling author Spindler relies on clichés and red herrings to flesh out this modestly entertaining thriller.
Katherine “Kat” McCall, of the oil-rich McCall family, has returned to tiny Liberty, La., where she grew up. After her wealthy parents died in a car accident, her older sister, Sara, a teacher, raised her. When the rebellious 17-year-old Kat started hanging with the wrong crowd, Sara attempted to control her and wound up dead. After Kat was acquitted, she moved to the West Coast and now, a decade later, has returned to Liberty (pop. 750) to open a new business and find out who killed her sister. There’s a problem, though: Not only is someone trying to scare Kat off, but the whole town, including the police chief, thinks she’s the real killer, even though a jury failed to convict her. Now Kat must soldier through intimidation attempts, a ton of suspects and the dark minds of the townspeople who don’t want to believe she could be innocent. Kat meets many people from her past and finds most of them are far more worried about their own stake in this game, but eventually, she starts to realize that seeking out her sister’s killer could be, and is, a deadly pursuit. And, naturally, Kat is beautiful and finds an ally and romantic interest in the police chief’s son, handsome Luke Tanner. Spindler’s readers will probably overlook some of the sillier details (the townsfolk’s vitriol is melodramatic, and the tiny town seems to have a limitless supply of both police officers and expensive estates). But it’s hard to ignore the predictable by-the-numbers plot and cookie-cutter cast; however, for those who want a basic romance with a little damsel in distress thrown in, this might fit the bill.
Thriller connoisseurs won’t find any thrills here. Still, a decent summer read for fans of romance.