cover image Bitterroot Lake

Bitterroot Lake

Alicia Beckman. Crooked Lane, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-64385-580-6

Sarah McCaskill Carter, the protagonist of this amorphous paranormal mystery from Beckman (the pen name of Leslie Budewitz; the Spice Shop mysteries), returns to her family’s home in Deer Park, Mont., at the urging of her mother, Peggy, who believes Sarah needs a project to take her mind off the recent death of her husband. Peggy suggests that sorting out the contents of the long-abandoned McCaskills’ summer house on Bitterroot Lake would be therapeutic, but revisiting the lake brings back troubling memories for Sarah of an unfortunate incident that occurred there 25 years earlier involving her friend Janine Chapman and rich, entitled Lucas Erickson. Soon after Sarah’s arrival, Lucas, now a successful but much despised lawyer, is found dead on his office floor by Janine, who fears everyone will believe she killed him. The meandering plot includes ghostly presences and prophetic nightmares, well-kept family secrets, and a maid’s suspicious death in 1922. The resolution of Lucas’s murder is almost an afterthought. The author’s fans will enjoy this, but others may find it a bit muddled. Agent: John Talbot, Talbot Fortune Agency. (Apr.)