cover image Ransom River

Ransom River

Meg Gardiner. Dutton, $25.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-525-95285-5

Near the start of this solid stand-alone thriller from Edgar-winner Gardiner (The Nightmare Thief), Aurora “Rory” Mackenzie, an attorney who was working for Asylum Action, which monitored “refugees seeking political asylum” until it lost its funding, returns home to Ransom River, Calif., in answer to a jury summons. As a juror, Rory gets thrust into a hostage situation when two armed gunmen storm the courtroom where the trial of two cops accused of shooting a burglar is taking place. Even though a SWAT team comes to the rescue with minimal bloodshed, the police single out Rory as a potential accomplice because of undue attention one gunman paid to her. When ex-undercover cop Seth Colder, her childhood love, warns her of dirty cops in the Ransom River PD, it’s clear the problem is bigger than Rory. Sparks still fly between the pair as they try to piece together the motive behind the courtroom siege. Like all of Gardiner’s heroines, Rory is tough when it counts but never implausibly so. Agents: Deborah Schneider and Sheila Crowley, Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents. (June)