An intriguing mystery debut set in Fort Worth, Texas--where Detective Debra Ralston is fighting to prove that rich, once schizophrenic Olead Baker didn't kill his mother, stepfather, four-year-old half-sister, and two others. (All were found shot to death in Baker's house after a New Year's Eve party.) The physical evidence is damning: it proves that Baker had fired a shotgun that night. But when banker Slade Blackburn, a guest at the party, turns up as the purported victim of a bank robbery, a glimmer of a secret motive for the killings appears at last. Unfortunately, however, at this point the story, after a sizzling start, begins to fall apart--with contrived plot-turns and hackneyed melodrama taking over through Baker's trial and its aftermath. (Why, for instance, is Blackburn still on the loose after his wife is found shot to death and his alibi proved to be full of holes?) Still, despite serious shortcomings in the plot: a promising, often suspenseful first outing--delivered in a crisp, straight style, with an immensely appealing sleuth in Detective Ralston.