The Debt Collector

Lynn Hightower, Author
Lynn Hightower, Author Delacorte Press $23.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-32360-4
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At the start of this gut-wrenching police procedural from Shamus Award winner Hightower (Satan's Lambs, etc.), Cincinnati homicide cop Sonora Blair and her partner, Sam Delarosa, must investigate a dreaded ""home invasion."" At the crime scene, they find dead three members of the Stinnet family, father Carl and two children. Then Sonora discovers the wife, Joy, nearly disemboweled under a bed clutching her unharmed baby girl and repeating the ""Hail Mary."" The dying Joy claims the ""Angel"" saved them. This nearly undoes the tough but vulnerable cop, who has her own problems as a widow with two kids. When two suspects are picked up, Barty Kinkle and Lanky Aruba, everyone is relieved, except for Sonora, who believes the ""Angel"" is real and at large. Kinkle is about to make a deal, but he's killed while being transferred from jail. At the same time, Sam is badly wounded. When Aruba is shot dead through his psych ward window, Sonora becomes more than ever convinced that a third person was involved. As Sonora engages in an increasingly dangerous duel of wits in her pursuit of the phantom angel, Hightower builds the suspense to an almost unbearable pitch. The domestic concerns of police and victims, Sonora's budding romance with Sam's ER doctor and her rock-solid partnership with Sam offer relief from the gore. (Oct.)
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