STONE ANGEL, by Carol O'Connell

Detective Kathy Mallory leaves New York City for the place she was born, a small town in Louisiana where the cast of characters includes everyone but her mother, who was murdered a dozen years before. Mallory (never call her Kathy) is here to, literally, take names: who murdered her mother and why? Was Mallory witness? From a decaying house along the levee to a religiously-fueled lynch mob, O'Connell keeps you on a roller coaster racketing along at top speed. With her highly-developed eye for red herrings and important clues masquerading as absurd vignettes, O'Connell reels us along as Charles Butler arrives to assist and protect the woman he often wishes he didn't love. And loyal, alcoholic Riker, another man who'd take a bullet for Mallory, is not far behind. This book is a lesson in how to write a top-of-the-list murder mystery. It's a 5+.