|Lorena McCourtney: Whirlpool|
H. Revell (Trade Paperback), ISBN O-8007-5776-9
The past year hadn't been anything but bad for Stefanie Canfield. Her mother died. Her husband entered into an affair and paraded the fact around Julesburg -- their small hometown on the coast of Oregon. A messy divorce and problematic division of property followed, one that left them both partners in the family plywood mill.
The plywood mill succumbs to arson on July 4 and not by accident. The authorities suspect Stephanie, and when someone discovers a body in the charred remains of the mill, even Stephanie's old friend, the sheriff, seems convinced she's the evildoer.
Ironically, the insurance investigator who found the body, Ryan Harrison, turns out to be a childhood friend. The two share the peculiar bond of former outcasts. As a child people ostracized Stephanie because she was fat. Ryan bore the social burden of a less than acceptable family. Conflicted because he wants Stefanie to be innocent but knows desire can be a very unreliable signpost on the road to the truth, Ryan works hard to find the real villain. But his growing emotional involvement with Stephanie doesn't make anything any easier.
I understand that Whirlpool serves as the first of three books in the Julesburg Mysteries, with this being the first of the series. Since the setting plays such a large role in this mystery, I will be watching for the new books -- and not just because I love the Oregon Coast, but also because I loved this book. Each time I read Lorena McCourtney I think, it can't get any better than this. But it does.
Fog and fire, dogs and danger, betrayal and beauty, and a riveting mystery, with fully realized characters, a tangled plot and a great writer join in Whirlpool. Together they produce a read to remember.
Patricia Lucas White
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