A murderer taps exotic biotech know-how to kill a billionaire and a passel of his heirs. Does greed fuel the killing spree or is it something more sinister? Visiting her crusty 79-year-old aunt in northern Iowa, Marley Clark tries to save a billionaire when he tumbles from an excursion boat captained by Marley’s cousin. But the victim-founder of a biotech empire-is dead before his body hits the water. Soon Marley is consoling the widow, an old college friend and prime murder suspect. As Marley becomes embroiled in the investigation, members of the tycoon’s family perish faster than overripe fruit, and the arrogant head of a security firm renews a vendetta. Once the murder spree is linked to biological weapons, Marley’s former Pentagon boss joins the probe. To unmask the villains and protect her kin, Marley taps homegrown resources and debates the wisdom of trusting a handsome attorney with a suspicious past and a killer smile.
Review: When I reviewed the Marley Clark Mystery #1, Dear Killer, I was impressed with Linda Lovely’s writing and with the fact that she chose as her heroine a 52-year old retired Army colonel. Most writers take a character of this age and have them pining for a simple and cozy love, spending the evening watching television and being happy with a peck on the cheek. Not Lovely. She has made Marley true-to-life, with a healthy sexual appetite and a curiosity that sometimes lands her in trouble.
In Dear Killer, Marley was attracted to (and slept with) a somewhat younger man. By the time we reach No Wake Zone, that relationship has wound down and Marley finds herself attracted to a new man, an attorney she meets while visiting her aunt in Spirit Lake, Iowa.
Marley also finds herself diving into the river to rescue a man already dead and instantly becomes one of several on the suspect list. So what’s a girl to do? Investigate, of course! Along with cousin Ross, friend Darlene, and current romance Duncan, Marley delves into the world of biological weapons, wooden speedboats, and amusement parks.
The final chapters – you know, where they confront the bad guys and save the world? – were riveting. I found myself holding my breath in the final chase scene, but even in the midst of all the action Lovely found eloquence in her words:
The sinking sun lit a layer of high white clouds from beneath, painting them lavender, pink, red and purple. The clouds shimmered with an inner glow as the twilight deepened. To our left, the harbor’s antique boats twinkled, the colored lights winking as the boats bounced in our wake.
Lovely has become one of my “to watch” authors, her name now on the list where I keep tabs of up-coming books. If you’re a fan of mysteries and spunky heroines, this is your book.