cover image Life Without Parole

Life Without Parole

Elaine Viets. Severn, $28.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7278-5028-7

Death investigator Angela Richman has her hands full in Agatha finalist Viets’s solid sixth mystery set in Chouteau County, “a pocket of white privilege some thirty miles west of St. Louis” (after Death Grip). First up is Chouteau Forest businessman Tom Lockridge, who was shot dead in his bedroom. Everyone believes the infamous Ghost Burglars, who have been terrorizing the Forest’s elite, are responsible. Yet valuables were left behind, and Tom was killed while sound asleep. Both Angela and Det. Jace Budewitz are suspicious of the dead man’s much younger widow, Cynthia, who was spending money faster than Tom could make it and rumored to be sleeping with their lawyer. After another death ties into the Ghost Burglars and the Lockridge investigation, Jace is under pressure to solve the case quickly or else. Angela, as usual, is keen to help, but is distracted by other death investigations as well as her steamy romance with a cop. Colorful characters match the crafty plot twists. Viets consistently entertains. Agent: Joshua Bilmes, JABberwocky (Nov.)