An Arizona transplant chases the scoop of the century while folks back in her Minnesota hometown discover club drugs.
When Joya Bonner spots Sammy “The Bull” Gravano in a Tempe coffee shop, she realizes that her piece on research fraud at Arizona State University is small potatoes compared to the story that’s landed in her lap. The investigative reporter somehow thinks it would be OK to disclose the location of a federally protected witness if the revelation would help her trump a rival newshound. Her boyfriend, police detective Rob Stiller, persuades her to hold back, not because trumpeting Sammy’s whereabouts in her weekly, Phoenix Rising, would put the Mafioso in the cross hairs of any members of the Gambino crime family his testimony hasn’t already sent to jail, but because the police suspect Gravano’s back in the business and are running a sting operation to catch him. While Joya sits in the Maricopa sheriff’s office listening to wiretaps, her parents back in Northville, North Dakota, are reeling along with the rest of the town over the death of vibrant young high school senior Amber Schlener, who let her boyfriend, Johnny Roth, talk her into taking just one Ecstasy pill, which made her happy, happy, happy, and dead. Sick of Sheriff Sylvester Joseph Potter’s failure to arrest whoever supplied Johnny with the drug, Joya's father, Ralph, and two of his pals take the law into their own hands and hatch a revenge plot that deals Northville a second deadly blow.
Like the eponymous hotdish, Bommersbach’s debut novel contains a little of everything but nothing that spells haute literary cuisine. The author of The Trunk Murderess: Winnie Ruth Judd: The Truth About an American Crime Legend Revealed at Last (1992) might be better off sticking with true crime.