Casey Maldonado's life is over - at least as she knows it. In one brief moment of fire and wrenching metal, everything important was gone. The car manufacturer was generous with its settlement, but it can never be enough. Her family and friends - not to mention her lawyers - want her to go for more. More money, More publicity, More everything. But Casey is done. No financial gain or courtroom retribution will bring back what really matters. So she packs up, puts her house on the market, and leaves town. Her only companion: Death, who won't take her, but won't leave her alone. She stops on a whim in tragedy-stricken Clymer, a small blue-collar town in the midst of Ohio farmland. Not only is HomeMaker, the town's appliance factory and main employer, moving to Mexico, but the town has been rocked by the suicide of a beloved single mother. Casey is drawn to the town, and soon realizes that many of the citizens don't believe the verdict of suicide at all. Death encourages her to investigate, and she uncovers information that points to the factory. Was the victim's death a cover-up? Did she truly have the means - as she claimed - to keep the factory from leaving town. When Casey begins to receive messages that she should leave well enough alone, she decides she'd be better off back on the road, but the murderer can't let her go with everything she knows.
The intriguing first in a new series from Clemens (Different Paths and four other Stella Crown mysteries) introduces a classic tragic heroine, Casey Maldonado, and her companion, the Grim Reaper. Casey, who's trying to come to terms with personal losses suffered in a fatal car accident, regularly wishes that Death will take her so she can spend eternity with her departed loved ones. Unfortunately for Casey, it's not her time, and Death decides only to tag along on her sad journey. Hitching rides to anywhere, Casey ends up in Clymer, Ohio, a town as deeply troubled as she is. Casey is soon drawn into investigating the death of a young mother, who supposedly committed suicide after losing her job. Clemens is adept at creating an appealing cast of characters while keeping the plot moving at a fast clip. Casey and Death make an oddly entertaining pair, and readers will hope to see their relationship fleshed out in future titles. (May)
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May 04, 2007
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