Results of the Anthony Award in the year 2007.
No good deed goes unpunished…
Working as a consultant for a Baltimore newspaper, p.i. Tess Monaghan seems far removed from the unsolved slaying of a young federal prosecutor—until her well-meaning boyfriend, Crow, brings a street kid into their lives, a juvenile con artist who doesn’t even realize he holds an important key to the sensational homicide. But Tess’s ethical decision to protect the boy’s identity no matter what could have dire consequences—especially when one of his friends is murdered in what appears to be a case of mistaken identity.
With federal agents threatening her with felony charges—and a killer threatening far worse—Tess couldn’t deliver the kid to investigators even if she wanted to once Crow goes into hiding with his young protégé. So her only recourse is to get to the heart of the sordid and deadly affair while they’re all still free…and still breathing.
Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne’s first encounter with Clare Fergusson was in the hospital emergency room on a freezing December night. A newborn infant had been abandoned on the town’s Episcopal church steps. If Russ had known that the church had a new priest, he certainly would never have guessed that it would be a woman. Not a woman like Clare. That night in the hospital was the beginning of an attraction so fierce, so forbidden, that the only thing that could keep them safe from compromising their every belief was distance—but in a small town like Millers Kill, distance is hard to find.
Russ Van Alstyne figures his wife kicking him out of their house is nobody’s business but his own. Until a neighbor pays a friendly visit to Linda Van Alstyne—and finds the woman’s body, gruesomely butchered, on the kitchen floor. To the state police, it’s an open-and-shut case of a disaffected husband, silencing first his wife, then the murder investigation he controls.…[more]
Responding to a late night-call, Paddy Meehan arrives at an elegant villa, where a calm blonde with blood running from her mouth answers the door. She has already convinced the police to leave and soon Paddy realizes how—she slips 50 bucks into Paddy’s hands and begs her to keep the incident, whatever it is, out of the press. The next morning Paddy sees the lead news story: The blonde woman has been murdered, and far from the spoiled trophy wife Paddy assumed her to be, the victim turns out to be a prosecution lawyer with a social conscience. Paddy begins to make connections no one else has seen. When she witnesses the body of a suicide victim being pulled from the river shortly afterward, Paddy suspects links between the two deaths and follows her idea to its shocking—and deadly—conclusion.
Not long after the Las Piernas Express publishes Irene Kelly’s articles profiling missing children cases, bones turn up at a California estate—and a notorious murder-kidnapping is churned up once more. When artist Richard Fletcher was found bludgeoned in his studio years ago, his stepson was quickly apprehended with the murder weapon and ultimately convicted. But Richard’s young daughter, Jenny, who went missing at the time of the murder, was never found. Now Irene has joined Richard’s son Caleb, a graduate student of forensic anthropology, in the fight to prove his stepbrother’s innocence and solve Jenny’s disappearance. But digging up the tragedies of the sprawling and powerful Fletcher family isabout to set off a murderous chain reaction—and put Irene’s own life in peril.
Small Plains, Kansas, January 23, 1987: In the midst of a deadly blizzard, eighteen-year-old Rex Shellenberger makes a shocking discovery: the naked, frozen body of a teenage girl. Even dead, she is the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen. In the two decades following her death, strange miracles visit those who faithfully tend to her grave.
Seventeen years later, three families and three friends, their worlds inexorably altered in the course of one night, must confront the ever-unfolding consequences. Wonderfully written and utterly absorbing, The Virgin of Small Plains is about the loss of faith, trust, and innocence…and the possibility of redemption.