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UP IN SMOKE: A Case for Kansas Police Chief Susan Wren

Charlene Weir, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur/Dunne $23.95 (337p) ISBN 978-0-312-31020-2

In this engaging drama set against a political campaign, the sixth to chronicle the cases of Kansas police chief Susan Wren (after 2001's A Cold Christmas ), Weir ably juggles a large cast of characters: Jack Garrett, the governor of Kansas, who's seeking his party's candidacy for the upcoming presidential election; Molly, his ambitious wife; Todd Haviland, his campaign manager; Cassilda Storm, his first love; Wakely Fromm, his oldest and best friend; and scores of other carefully drawn friends and enemies. Sean Donovan, a political writer for a prestigious periodical, thinks there's a story in the governor's relationship with Fromm, who's been in a wheelchair since the two fought a forest fire 20 years earlier. But when Donovan goes to interview Fromm, he finds Fromm dead in his bathroom, shot in the head, apparently by his own hand. Wren has her work cut out for her when suicide proves to be homicide and the evidence implicates Governor Garrett. A big black dog also figures in the plot. The suspense builds to the end of this convoluted mystery, which conveys to readers the agreeable sense that the survivors are going to find happiness. Agent, Meg Ruley. (Nov. 17)

Reviewed on: 10/27/2003
Release date: 11/01/2003
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