cover image Wicked Games

Wicked Games

Ellen Hart. St. Martin's Press, $24.95 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-312-18680-7

Lambda Award-winner Hart continues the story of lesbian Minneapolis restaurateur Jane Lawless (Robber's Wine, 1996) in this slightly bland tale of a chillingly dysfunctional family. Jane's new tenant is Elliot Beauman, a children's-book author who seems to have a psychic touch when it comes to finding killers. Down the street, his sister Patricia moves in and is helping Jane plan a neighborhood get-together. As they get to know each other, Jane learns that Patricia's former fiance in Iowa recently committed suicide after she broke up with him. Jane is soon contacted by a PI who has been hired by the fiance's parents who believe their son may have been murdered. The more Jane learns about Elliot and Patricia, the more they trouble her, and her worries increase when she discovers that her house is where their older brother once suffered a paralyzing fall from the roof. Why did they move back to their old neighborhood, with its tragic memories? As Jane probes for an answer, the bones of a young girl are unearthed in her backyard, and she suspects that one of the siblings knows way too much about murder. Hart adeptly wraps up the puzzles, and she also keeps questions about Jane's private life sufficiently unresolved to lure fans back for the next installment. (Aug.)