Fortunes of the Dead


Lexington, Kentucky, private eye Lena Padget agrees to investigate the disappearance of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) intern Cheryl Dunkirk, even though she knows this decision will put her at odds with her lover, Joel Mendez, the homicide detective in charge of the case.

Unbeknownst to the two, their investigations will collide with an ATF search for a serial killer, as agent Wilson McCoy arrives from California to assist the local ATF office in catching the murderer.

Lena works on her own as Joel will no longer share details of the case with her, and they become competitive and stubborn, jeopardizing their romantic relationship. Lena’s first-person narration, interspersed with other points of view, keeps the story moving at brisk pace, punctuated effectively with vivid details of rodeo life and ATF protocol.

Reminiscent of Marcia Muller’s Sharon McCone, who faces similar relationship issues, Lena will appeal to fans of female private eyes. The first Padget novel, Satan’s Lambs (1993), was a Shamus Award winner. Hightower has concentrated recently on her Sonora Blair police procedural series. —From

Pocket Star
September 2004
ISBN: 0743463900

Atria Books
September 2003
ISBN: 0743463897