cover image Night Kills

Night Kills

Charlotte Hughes. Avon Books, $6.99 (274pp) ISBN 978-0-380-79220-7

Before Lee Cates's sister, Lucy, was murdered, her once disturbingly beautiful face was slashed to ribbons. Three apparently implausible suspects emerge in the siblings' small, closely knit South Carolina town of Comfrey. Impatient with the progress of the investigation by her cousin, Sheriff Holden Cates, Lee strikes out on her own against his wishes. Though this is billed as a romantic suspense novel, the whodunit facet is given rather short shrift here. Characters are believable if not particularly compelling, but the heroine's vaunted feistiness is undermined each time she is rescued from harrowing situations (most of which she's placed herself in) by the handsome male stalwart, Jack McCall, who keeps appearing out of the blue and in the nick of time. Even so, Hughes's (And After That, the Dark) clear language is a pleasure to read. (Dec.)