San Diego p.i. Xavier Walker always knew that Sean Foster hadn’t killed his beautiful bride Laura, who was found stabbed to death next to her car on a deserted highway outside Reno the evening after their wedding 15 years ago. So when hikers discover Foster’s skull in a remote section of Washoe County, Walker’s just itching to get back to Nevada to solve the case the police back-burnered way back when. But since he’s under subpoena to testify in the court next week and can’t leave California, he persuades his partner, Sydney Bryant, to go in his place, acting on behalf of Sean’s uncle and guardian, Donald Foster. Sydney’s just as glad to have the chance to leave town, hung up as she is between her fiancé, police lieutenant Mitch Travis, and her longtime crush Ethan Ross, who decided just a little too late to return Sydney’s affection. But the long-unsolved puzzle seems nearly as deadlocked as her romance. Both Sean’s brother Alan and wedding guest Brad Goodwyn had dated Laura before her marriage, and Sean’s cousin Randy Leighton, only 17 at the time, seemed to have an unusually strong attraction to his new relative. Laura’s friend, psychic Tiki Everly, swears that the unlucky bride foresaw her end in “black dreams.” Now Sydney may need supernatural help to discover who had the opportunity to ambush the couple on the way to a honeymoon that never happened.
Sydney’s hardcover debut is a pleasant if conventional reconstruct-the-crime outing.