Florida resident Maggie McGill visits her 30-something daughter, Allie, in Southern California, never guessing that a casually taken snapshot at the LA airport will have huge repercussions. Initially, Maggie dismisses the fact that she keeps running into people from her flight in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. She also believes that a firmly embedded rock that rolls down the hill and lands inches from her is a fluke. However, when Brigitte, a honeymooning French woman she met on the plane, disappears, and one of Maggie’s mysterious followers turns out to be a CIA agent, Maggie and her daughter accept that they have become the quarry of some very dangerous people—though they still do not understand why. Featuring beautiful scenery, delicious meals, hints of romance and a miraculously conflict-free mother-daughter relationship, this cozy has just the right amount of suspense. Maggie, a mature woman of indeterminate age, is a looker, as agent Harry Cavanaugh clearly finds her appealing. The most intriguing character, however, is Hadi, a prescient, serene man whose involvement in the case remains unexplained. The Middle Eastern villains seem a bit clichéd and dated (although the novel was initially released in 2008), and references to them as “Arabs” skirt political correctness; however, the motive is secondary to the action itself. The apparent resolution of the plot with nearly 50 pages left in the book is initially troubling, but Toner doesn’t disappoint; the most harrowing scenes occur at the end of the book. Best yet, the excerpt from the second book shows that Hadi returns.
A very pleasant introduction to a promising mystery series; and there’s no wait for subsequent books.