cover image FAMILY CLAIMS: A Pinnacle Peak Mystery

FAMILY CLAIMS: A Pinnacle Peak Mystery

Twist Phelan, . . Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (260pp) ISBN 978-1-59058-110-0

Lawyer Hannah Dain is on the hot seat in more ways than one in Phelan's second Pinnacle Peak mystery (after 2002's Heir Apparent ), which vividly evokes the Arizona desert and thrills with convincing legal detail. Hannah has joined her older sister Shelby and her father Richard in what she had hoped would be a productive relationship in the family law firm of Dain & Dain. Instead, Hannah has been snubbed by her father and goaded by her sister for reasons that only gradually become apparent. Hannah finds solace in long, hard desert rides on her bicycle and allies in her staunch secretary Clementine, young file clerk Tad Whitfield and the firm's computer expert, Cooper Smith—all appealing supporting characters. Still, with her prospects at the firm so bleak, she plans to give up and take a job in Boston. Then an IPO she initiated blows up, threatening to leave Hannah and the firm in the lurch. The dangers are not merely legal but physical as someone seems ruthlessly intent on destroying her and Dain & Dain. Hannah needs all of her training and resolve to unravel the tricky legal maneuvering and all of her athletic strength and courage to survive the desiccating heat of an Arizona summer. While father Richard and sister Shelby are drawn too starkly in black and white, Hannah makes a sympathetic and appealing heroine likely to have an interesting future. (Mar. 1)

Forecast: A blurb from Sue Grafton will alert her readers to this mystery's virtues.