McArthur & Company, Sep 1 2010, $19.95
Thanks in part to her silent partner lover, Sherri Travis now owns the Sunset Bar and Grill in Jacaranda, Florida where she was previously a bartender only. However her euphoria turns to concern when Ray John Leenders arrives at the bar’s parking lot. When Sherri was almost twelve years old, RJ moved in with her mom and her. He consistently would trap her and eventually tried to rape her; she fought him off, but feared telling her dad who was a hot tempered veteran. Now he is the boyfriend of storeowner Rena Cagel, the mother of young teenager Lacey. Sherri fears for the child and warns Rena who defends Ray John. Lacey confesses to Sherri that the animal is assaulting her, but cannot tell her mom who believes he is perfect. Sherri warns Ray John to leave Lacey alone, but he ignores her and comes after her.
Additionally, Sherri has a second issue with another man from her past arriving. Her father Tully Jenkins asks her to help him deploy a detailed revenge scheme. She tells him about Ray John and he promises to take care of business. A homicide later and the police suspect Sherri.
The latest Travis amateur sleuth (see Margarita Nights and Sex in a Sidecar) is a terrific thriller as the lead protagonist’s horrific childhood comes back to haunt her with two males who she knows still belong in the swamp, preferably dead. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Sherri realizes Lacey’s RJ nightmare is her RJ nightmare and never slows down as the bartender fails to heed the advice of the late Miss Emma not to stoke the fire. Readers will appreciate this caring Floridian as she sets out to prove her innocence though caught in the nightmarish returns of two violent males.