After a man is murdered in a Halloween haunted house, a psychic Midwest lawyer investigates the killing in this sixth installment of a series.
Thirty-year-old Megan Docket, an attorney in tiny Dexter, Nebraska, specializes in estate planning, but—as described in five previous novels—she has found herself investigating and solving criminal cases, most recently a double murder, and has killed many times in self-defense. She’s helped by a warm community of friends and family and by the supernatural: Megan is warned of danger by presentiments and voices she hears in the winds scouring the dry bluffs near her house. As the book opens, Megan is still traumatized by recent events, such as the loss of her unborn child, and is troubled by problems in her new marriage to Jay Young, a lieutenant in the State Patrol. In need of distraction, she agrees to help plan a haunted house for Halloween. Finally open to the public, the house becomes the site of a murder, and the sheriff arrests the wrong man. Megan and her allies set out to find the truth, leading to a dangerous confrontation with the real killers—who hold her mother and Docket Law employees hostage. To outwit them, Megan will need to muster her associates and mount a daring rescue. Bruce (Game Six, 2018, etc.) provides, as always, a strong sense of place, diverse characters, and a twisty mystery. The main investigation story is rounded out by domestic concerns, such as Megan’s worries about her new marriage. Contradictions in her character make her a complex subject, one as likely to protect herself with deadly force as to generously help others. But these strengths become overwhelmed by the tale’s giant plethora of names and relationships, which (even with effective exposition) overtake the storytelling, slow the pace, and burden readers with attempts to keep things straight. Book 5 provided a cast list, but this one has no such memory aid. In addition, the voices-in-the-wind plot element becomes a little tired, even perfunctory, in this outing, which doesn’t live up to previous volumes.
An overly complicated mystery with an engaging protagonist.