Ruth Francisco, Author . Mysterious $23.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-89296-807-7

Following her much-praised first novel, Confessions of a Deathmaiden (2003), Francisco delivers another outstanding stand-alone, a darker tale with some surprising twists. A Mexican fisherman makes a gruesome discovery on the beach not far from L.A.'s Marina del Rey: "I found the first arm. The second one washed up on Malibu Beach, seven miles north of here. The rest of the body must've gotten eaten by sharks." But whose arm? It would seem to belong to the alluring Laura Finnegan, who had a house on the beach and whom the fisherman used to admire through her window. Det. Sgt. Reggie Brooks of the LAPD is in love with Laura, as is real estate agent Scott Goodsell, who has asked her to marry him, but murder doesn't seem a possibility: Laura has quit her job and gone east to see her relatives. Or has she? Alert readers will suspect there's more going on than meets the eye, and further plot complications prove both serpentine and sanguinary. As in her previous novel, Francisco knows how to turn the screws: the adroit plotting and additional fillip at the end are sufficiently compelling to qualify this as one of the year's best mysteries. Agent, Philip Spitzer. (Sept. 22)

Reviewed on: 08/30/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 464 pages - 978-0-7862-7171-9
Open Ebook - 978-0-446-53560-1
Ebook - 978-0-446-50953-4
Ebook - 978-0-446-50954-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 329 pages - 978-0-446-61648-5
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