Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Beth Ellis has charted a very controlled life in academia as far away as possible from the legal bordello her mother runs in Nevada. She thought that being made the dean of Grafton College would elevate her career, instead she has to deal with an unpopular and pompous new college president, budget cutbacks and tenure battles with the professors. When the president pushes her to insure that an incompetent professor receives tenure, Beth is ready to return to the classroom. The murder of the professor forces Beth to mount a defense of the school's reputation and brings her into contact with the new police chief Sally Sullivan. Sally left the Chicago police to return to her hometown and be near her parents. Things were very routine and unexciting until dead bodies start showing up. As Sally and Beth work together to try to solve the mystery of what is going on at the college, they find they are drawn together, but they're on very different pages. Beth is really satisfied with casual relationships and one night stands, but Sally is looking for something more meaningful in her life. Whether or not they can find a way to bring their goals in sync is as big a mystery as who is killing college employees.
Veritas is Anne Laughlin's second novel and it shows what most readers hope for, this writer is improving as she writes. It's clear that Laughlin is developing her ability to draw her characters more completely and to develop a story in a way that it unfolds instead of rushing to a conclusion. She is especially adept in this story at developing the mystery, giving hints, but managing to keep the identity of the killer hidden until almost the end of the book. Beth's character is better developed than Sally's, but there is enough revealed about Sally to sustain the story. A sign of Laughlin's improvement is the fact that Veritas was a winner of the 2010 Golden Crown Literary Society Award for Mystery. Although there is a romance in the book, it actually plays a minor role and this is more of a true mystery.
Veritas is a very solid read. It's a good story with interesting characters and sustains the aspects of the mystery throughout the novel. The cover picture is excellent and will draw readers to the book by itself. They'll be pleased to find that the book is well worth reading.