cover image Mistress of the Bones

Mistress of the Bones

T. J. MacGregor / Author Hyperion Books $21.45 (337p) ISBN 978

Gothic horror comes to bright, sunny west Florida in the latest adventure (after Blue Pearl) for wife-and-husband detective team Quin St. James and Mike McCreary. When their friend Lou Hernando, a veteran bail bondsman, is found knifed to death in his secluded rundown homestead, the duo moves in to investigate, despite rumors that the house is haunted. The obvious suspect is a young car thief whom Lou had recently taken under his wing, but Quin and Mike discover that their friend left behind a trail of peevish girlfriends and a portrait of a hauntingly beautiful woman with whom he appears to have been obsessed. She turns out to have been his senior by about 300 years-a Cuban slave who once lived in the house and whose restless spirit may roam there still. A mix of journal entries, hidden passages, unidentified rustlings and e-mail messages leads Quin and Mike to a breathtaking climax and an unexpected denouement. Although the motive behind Lou's murder may seem inadequate, it sets in motion such a page-turning sequence of action that few readers will quibble. (Dec.)