'H' IS FOR HOMICIDE
Kinsey Millhone, twice-divorced ex-cop, ever dauntless, ever vulnerable ("A" is for Alibi, etc., etc.), now investigating claims for California Fidelity, is assigned a seemingly routine claim from the files of deceased co-worker Parnell Perkins--robbed and shot dead. The case leads Kinsey to elusive, beautiful Bibianna Diaz and to a late-night restaurant meal interrupted by an attempt to kidnap Bibianna that ends with the shooting death of Chago Maldonado--killed by Bibianna's escort Jimmy Tate--an ex-cop and old pal of Kinsey's. Tate lands in the hospital; Bibianna and Kinsey in jail--to be greeted on release by Chago's brother and Bibianna's ex-lover, Raymond--a tense hood racked by the involuntary spasms of Tourette's Syndrome and by his obsession to marry a frightened Bibianna, who thought she'd escaped him. His plan to take her back to his Los Angeles barrio apartment is reinforced by gun-toting henchman Luis. Bibianna clings to new-found friend Kinsey, who goes along, knowing she's onto a mega-insurance scam and, possibly, Parnell's killer. Days later it's all over--a densely textured adventure heavy with unflagging menace lightened by wisps of humor; a three-dimensional villain; a surprise twist, and a heroine to have in your comer. First-class work from an author whose range grows steadily deeper and richer.