God Don't Play

Mary Monroe, Author . Kensington $24 (314p) ISBN 978-0-7582-0346-5

In this third novel in Monroe's bestselling God Don't series, Annette Goode finally has it all: a sexy husband who adores her, a beautiful young daughter, a comfy house, a good job and a perfect best friend. But why is someone suddenly sending her anonymous hate mail? As the poison pen letters and threatening phone calls become more ugly and violent, Annette takes her friend Rhoda's advice and sets out to discover and expose the culprit. Along the way, she is forced to dust off some of the skeletons in her closet—including childhood poverty and sexual abuse, a brief stint turning tricks as a teenager, and being an accessory to murder. Annette also confronts gnawing insecurity: obese and unfashionable, she wonders how long she can hang onto a husband who, according to gossip from the local beauty parlor, still has his name tattooed on the buttocks of Annette's prime suspect, the town femme fatale. Monroe squeezes everything she can from this novel's melodramatic plot, but it never feels as ominous as it should, nor does the tidiness of the conclusion enhance the book's already-faint sense of verisimilitude. What was interesting about Annette is covered in the earlier books. (Aug. 29)