From Publishers Weekly
Set in the fictional Southern California town of Las Piernas, this generally exciting debut mystery-the first of a projected series-brims with brutality, but is slowed at times by home and hospital bedside scenes. Former reporter Irene Kelly, now working in public relations, is shocked when her friend O'Connor is killed by a bomb hidden in a package. The only clue Irene can unearth is O'Connor's obsession with a long-unsolved crime involving an unidentified female body discovered in Las Piernas years before. Rehired by the Las Piernas Express, Irene teams up with ex-lover and homicide cop Frank Harriman to crack the case, but details of what O'Connor had learned about the killing are long in coming. Burke punctuates her too leisurely exposition with graphic, effective scenes of murder and attempted murder, although she depicts the menacing assassins more as machines than as human beings and provides a plausible explanation for all the violence only at her story's very end. Still, she writes with remarkable sensitivity about the physical and spiritual reactions of people terrorized by cold-blooded killers, and her gift for characterization somewhat compensates for her still-rudimentary pacing skills.