cover image Dakota


Martha Grimes, . . Viking, $25.95 (414pp) ISBN 978-0-670-01869-7

Bestseller Grimes’s compelling second novel to feature the enigmatic young woman who calls herself Andi Oliver (after 1999’s Biting the Moon ) begins with Andi, who’s still unaware of her real name or her past, adrift in the Dakota badlands. After rescuing an abandoned donkey, Andi makes a temporary home for herself in the small town of Kingdom, where she soon creates a stir by standing up to some local bullies. She really begins to shake things up in the placid community, however, when she takes a job at a pig farm to try to save the cruelly treated animals bred there. After sneaking into the farm’s affiliated assembly-line slaughterhouse, Andi resolves to find a way, within the bounds of the law or not, to call to account the management of both places for violating humane animal treatment laws. While one late plot development stretches credibility, Grimes succeeds in sustaining suspense while graphically portraying the ugliness of animal abuse. (Feb.)