A researcher for a Chicago TV news magazine feels compelled to investigate the murder of her elderly neighbor.
Alex St. James (Deadly Blessings, 2005) is running late for an award ceremony when her neighbor Mrs. Vicks asks her for help in digging into some irregularities she’s discovered at Banner Bank, where she’s worked for years. The next day, it’s too late to help. Mrs. Vicks is found brutally murdered, leaving her young and fragile housemate Diana traumatized. David Dewars, owner of the bank, met Alex at the ceremony and asked her out. Shocked by the murder of his longtime employee, he promises to cooperate with Alex, and she goes through years of bank statements looking for clues. The FDIC is auditing the bank, and not all the harassed employees are happy to help. Meanwhile, Mrs. Vicks’s son Barton, drunk and belligerent, is desperate to get his inheritance to pay off major gambling debts. Diana has a nasty boyfriend with a record. Her psychiatrist is very willing to pick Alex’s brain but won’t say much about his patient’s problems. Following up three possible motives for murder, Alex works with Detective Lulinski. The stakes get higher when Barton is found shot, and Alex puts her life on the line in a chase through the dark and dangerous Banner Bank building.
Alex’s second is a nicely balanced combination of detective work and high-wire adventure.