At Sacramento Talk, Shauna J. Bogart is still the only full-time, on-air employee “who uses the rest room with the Tampax machine.” Retrograde hiring practices aside, Shauna, brash, brainy, on the cusp of 40, and as politically incorrect as the law allows, loves her radio station, the amiable wackiness of her loyal audience, and a fast-talking, soft-hearted colleague billed as Dr. Hipster—loves him, that is, the way you love a mentor or a big brother—until he dies of a bullet the Sacramento PD insists he put into his own head. Moreover, there’s a suicide note, addressed to Shauna herself, in which Dr. Hipster blames his despair on unrequited passion. No way, says Shauna J. once the first shock has passed. To begin with, Dr. Hipster—active, enthusiastic, pleased as punch with life—just doesn’t make sense as a suicide. Nor is he any more credible as her lethally rejected lover. But why has he been murdered? Did his investigative-reporter side get him uncomfortably close to someone’s dangerous secret? Of course it did—a secret Shauna has to sniff out before she can return to the safe-and-sane world of talk radio as usual: “On line two, Diane wants to know if it’s true Bill Gates is giving away his entire fortune, and all you have to do to get your share is e-mail five friends.”
Funny, feisty Shauna J., whose debut won the 2002 St. Martin’s Press/Malice Domestic contest for Best First Traditional Mystery, is certainly a keeper. She deserves a stronger storyline next time out.