cover image He Was Her Man

He Was Her Man

Sarah Shankman. Pocket Books, $20 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-77553-7

Introduced in First Kill All the Lawyers and seen last in The King is Dead , smart-mouthed Samantha Adams, former crime reporter from New Orleans, here encounters a raft of new friends and felons in Hot Springs, Ark. Fleeing from her unfaithful lover in the Big Easy, Sam joins those invited to celebrate the engagement of Jinx Watson, a twice-divorced former runner-up in the Miss Texas pageant. In the spa, at Jinx's extravagant party, in the hotel and around the resort town, Sam runs into plenty of eccentric folk, including ample-bodied Olive Adair, a former call girl who is now proprietor of Gas 'N Grub. When Olive, who is a friend of Jinx's mother, fails to show at the party, Samantha starts sleuthing. The story starts slowly, but once the plot finally unwraps itself from wisecracks and Sam's relentless romantic ache and fury, the action is non-stop and full of surprises, involving freelance grifters, the local gambling machine, lots of backfiring schemes and a generous, bracing dose of Southern backcountry wit. Murder, revenge, honor (of sorts), greed, lust and romance all figure in this large-hearted, ultimately entertaining mystery. (Nov.)