There are bad ways to lose a spouse, and there are really bad ways, as Jacobs (Cold Justice, 2001, etc.) starkly demonstrates.
Dr. Sam Russell is free today only because one holdout juror refused to believe that he strangled his young wife Lisa, pregnant with their second child. Now, he and Molly, their first, have moved back to California partly to be near Sam’s supportive father, partly to escape Lisa’s parents in Boston, who remain convinced of Sam’s guilt—a conviction reinforced when Sam’s second wife Maureen goes missing. Monte Vista detective Hannah Montgomery also has her share of bereavement baggage. She learned of her husband Malcolm’s long-standing affair with her sister only after his death. So even though her partner Dallas Pryor, who’s held a grudge against Sam ever since high school, regards the case as open and shut, Hannah tries to keep her mind open enough to take seriously Sam’s claims about an intruder in his house, a call demanding ransom and a mysterious SUV he sees leaving the scene of the ransom drop. But the discovery of Maureen’s body in a fellow physician’s wine cellar strains his credibility, as well as Hannah’s relations with her colleagues.
Putting people you might meet any day into situations you can barely imagine gives Jacobs’s latest tingler some powerful momentum.