cover image Only Good Yankee

Only Good Yankee

Jeff Abbott, Jeff Abbot. Fawcett Books, $6.5 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-345-39438-5

Between a reemerged ex-girlfriend, a mad bomber and a murderer loose on the streets of Mirabeau, Tex., sleuth/librarian Jordan Poteet has his hands full. The bomber is blowing up everything from mailboxes to the top floor of Mirabeau's B&B; Lorna, Poteet's ex, works for a land developer interested in turning the town's riverfront property into resort condos; and the murderer is a nasty soul who garrotes his victims with barbed wire. In this sequel to Do Unto Others, Abbott stirs up a homey brew of humor, sweet-and-sour Southern charm and, most of all, saucy, revealing characterizations: Jordan's current girlfriend, Candace, looks ``like she'd tiptoed out of Laura Ashley University with a bachelor's in Prim,'' while Lorna is likened to a hurricane moving in from the coast--``The only difference was that hurricanes are indifferent to the destruction and chaos they cause.'' And then there's Billy Ray, the prosecutor, who's ``the type of fellow that'd poke his finger between a cottonmouth's fangs to see if the mouth is really all soft inside.'' Add a mixture of slightly unbalanced townsfolk and a rigid environmentalist hell-bent on protecting Mirabeau from the developers, and you have escapist fare that's as good as it gets. Speaking in the first person as Jordan Poteet, Abbott brings an engaging new voice to Southern mystery fiction. (May)