Monday, August 22, 2011

She Waits by Kate Sweeney

Publisher:               Intaglio Publications

Kate Sweeney introduces a new mystery series with her first book She Waits.  Her heroine Kate Ryan is a klutz.  She doesn't mean to be, but Kate can't seem to do much without having an accident of some sort.  It actually makes her rather endearing.   

Kate was once a private investigator, but, after a horrible incident that is never fully explained, she gave up that occupation to become a very successful wildlife photographer.  When the book opens, she is on her way to Galena, Ill., to spend a peaceful weekend with her sister.  While she is in the area, some friends have asked her to visit a friend of theirs who is having some problems.  Maggie Winfield has had some strange things happen to her and her friends are hoping that Kate can help her figure out what is going on.  Maggie doesn't want anyone else to help her, especially Kate after the way they meet.  Kate is driving down the road and nearly hits Maggie as she crosses the road at a high rate of speed on her horse.  For a while, things go downhill from there.  As the mystery unfolds it is clear that Maggie's rather eccentric family is hiding secrets and that these secrets are related to what is happening to Maggie.  There is a string of unusual deaths, including Maggie's parents and a long time family employee.  Maggie is quite wealthy and her death would make someone very rich.  Then there's the ex-girlfriend Allison who seems to be tied into everything.  Kate has more clues than she knows what to do with and they don't seem to fit together. 

Two of the best characters in the book are Maggie's Aunt Hannah and Kate's dog Chance.  Hannah is the walking definition of blunt, irrepressible and buttinski.  Sometimes it's difficult to tell what interests her more, solving the mystery or getting Kate and Maggie together.  Chance is a gem.  Totally dedicated to her mistress….or whoever will scratch behind her ears, and with a sharp nose that keeps turning up the clues in the case.  Add to these two Kate's sister Teri and her husband Mac and you have the supporting characters that should transfer with this series very easily.

Sweeney has written a well-structured book to introduce a new series.  She Waits contains an interesting mystery that isn't solved until the final pages.  A possible relationship between Kate and Maggie is set up for exploration at a later time and enough hints have been dropped as to what the tragedy was in Kate's life that readers will be encouraged to buy the next book.  She Waits is a very satisfactory introduction of a new character in lesbian fiction.

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