cover image Murder Unleashed

Murder Unleashed

Rita Mae Brown. Ballantine, $25 (288p) ISBN 978-0-345-51183-6

In Brown's provocative second novel featuring wealthy Reno, Nev., octogenarian Jeep Reed (after 2010's A Nose for Justice), Jeep takes on nothing less daunting than solving the national financial crisis. Starting with a handful of foreclosed homes currently occupied by homeless squatters, she endeavors to rejuvenate the community, aided by great-niece Mags Rogers and local realtor Babs Gallagher. Too bad unscrupulous Patrick Wentworth, who's running for Congress, is working at cross purposes to the trio to further his political campaign. When a murder and then a young man's death appear to fan the flames of Wentworth's heated rhetoric, Jeep has no recourse but to fight back. Naturally, Jeep's trusty shepherd mix, King, and Mags's dachshund, Baxter, prove wiser than their humans. RMB fans, dog lovers, and those sharing her point of view will likely enjoy Jeep, an outspoken, no nonsense Mary Sue with a heart of gold. Others should be prepared for some flimsily veiled social proselytizing. (Oct.)