***Sorry about the radio silence – for those few readers left – I’ve been very distracted of late. Here is a catch-up In the Mail to fill the space until I can get back in the groove.***
Innocent as Sin by Elizabeth Lowell
Kayla Shaw is a private banker in Arizonaâ€”smart and capable but underpaid and underappreciated. Rand McCree is a haunted man who paints landscapes in the Pacific Northwest, burning with a need for answers about the terrible event that shattered his world. They are two strangers with nothing in common . . . until their lives entwineâ€”and explode.
On what at first appears to be an ordinary day, everything changes for Kayla, as she barely escapes a kidnapping attempt and finds herself accused of a shocking crime: the illegal laundering of hundreds of millions of dollars. Damned by lies and false “evidence,” she is trapped with no place to run.
After five agonizing years, Rand has finally been offered what he desires the most: the name of his twin brother’s murderer. Hungry for vengeance, he accepts a job with St. Kilda Consulting that will place him in the killer’s orbit . . . and tantalizingly close to Kayla Shaw. The cold-blooded international criminal responsible for Rand’s brother’s death has targeted Kayla as his next victim. Since she can’t turn to the police, who believe she’s guilty as sin, she must place her life in the hands of the shadowy, secretive man who has come out of nowhere to protect her.
Suspicious of each other, needing each other, they are two against the worldâ€”with unknown enemies on all sides and even the government itself suspectâ€”as the violence of the past erupts in the present. And now innocence alone will not be enough to keep Kayla Shaw alive. . . .
Miami crime reporter Britt Montero, on the mend emotionally after losing her fiance in a shootout (The Ice Maiden, 2002), decides work is the best medicine. Her first case is actually an old one. The body of Nathan York is excavated by construction workers. Years earlier York was the subject of Britt’s first big story. He was a militant advocate for men’s rights in custody cases and would snatch children from their mothers and deliver them to their estranged fathers. Britt is also trying to track down Marsh Holt, the Honeymoon Killer. A hunky thirtysomething lothario operating with aliases in various states, Holt married a string of women across the country who all suffered fatal “accidents” while on their honeymoons. The ninth Montero mystery reflects Buchanan’s steady growth as a novelist. Montero becomes a more textured, deeper character with each entry in the series, and the personal revelations here are as riveting as the crimes being investigated.
My Dreams Out in the Street by Kim Addonizio
Harsh realism mixes with poetic despair as the characters in Addonizio’s second novel try to climb out of the hells of their own making. Rita Louise Jackson is homeless at 24, trying to get off heroin and find her husband, Jimmy D’Angelo, who left her after a fight. Rita wanders through contemporary San Francisco, sometimes drunk, sometimes strung out, turning tricks or panhandling when she needs money, all the while haunted by memories of her murdered mother and of her time with Jimmy. As she contemplates ways to turn her life around, an unwelcome opportunity arises when she sees a body being taken out of a seedy hotel. The murderer spots her and promises to come after her. The ensuing fear brings private investigator Gary Shepard into her life. Jimmy, meanwhile, is finding something like success as a waiter at a swanky restaurant. Even during the harshest times, the beauty of Addonizio’s language binds the reader to a story that unfolds in the shadows of Denis Johnson’s and Charles Bukowski’s works. Addonizio (Little Beauties, and several poetry volumes, including What Is This Thing Called Love) might not bring much new to the hobo/vagabond-lit. bonfire, but her characters’ desperate lives are rendered with striking delicacy.