cover image Charisma


Jo Bannister. St. Martin's Press, $18.95 (202pp) ISBN 978-0-312-11252-3

Against a lush and oppressive urban waterfront, Inspector Liz Graham of the Castlemere CID investigates the cases of two dead girls, both found with their throats slashed. The first was a young prostitute called Charisma, the next a girl riding her pony in the early morning. While the prostitute's death goes largely unlamented, the second becomes the subject of evangelical oratory dished out by a traveling preacher and provokes a riot and a lynching. Liz finds herself drawn to the wheelchair-bound preacher; her volatile Irish assistant, Cal Donovan, spots a famous terrorist among the itinerant evangelist's road crew. Liz's boss, Frank Shapiro, quietly comes to the aid of both his driven detectives as Liz lets her emotions get in the way of her detecting and Cal gets beaten to a pulp. This second in a series begun with A Bleeding of Innocents, is powered by Bannister's three diverse and forceful police characters, a strong supporting cast and the stark urban wasteland, which possesses a dark beauty all its own. (Sept.)