Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lie Down with the Devil-Linda Barnes

Lie Down with the Devil
Linda Barnes
St. Martin's, Aug 2008, $24.95
ISBN: 0312332890

Boston Private Investigator Carlotta Carlyle remains engaged to her mob-tied fiancé Sam Gianelli, although she has humongous doubts about his recent activity; Sam vanished rather than confront rumors tying him to a dead female (see HEART OF THE WORLD). While Carlotta considers ending their relationship, Jessica Franklin shows her a picture of Sam in a compromising position. Carlotta knows how easy it is to fix a photo, her doubt meter rises stratospherically.

Soon after their encounter, Franklin is killed in a hit-and-run incident. The police investigate with Carlyle as the obvious prime and only suspect; especially when they learn Jessica Franklin is a fake ID and the victim is connected to the Cape Cod homicide that raised the sleuth’s marital hesitation antennas. Like a smart lawyer in trouble, Carlyle knows a sleuth likewise needs to get outside representation; she asks her former boss and mentor at BPD, retired Joseph Mooney to help her. Like old times they head to Cape Cod to unravel the simple yet increasingly convoluted truth.

The direct sequel to the superb HEART OF THE WORLD is an excellent tale as the beleaguered heroine initially struggles with answering to marry or not to marry, but soon finds herself in deep trouble. The story line is fast-paced and impossible to put down, but especially entertaining is the teaming up of Carlyle and Mooney. LIE DOWN WITH THE DEVIL will be on the short list for best mystery of 2008 by most detective novel fans as Linda Barnes provides a powerhouse.

Harriet Klausner