Saturday, January 06, 2007

Shoot from the Lip - Leann Sweeney

Shoot From the Lip
A Yellow Rose Mystery
Leann Sweeney


Abby Rose discovered her calling in life with her wealthy father died, leaving pools of cash to her and her twin sister, Kate. The girls were adopted, and not by legal means. Now Abby runs Yellow Rose Investigations, specializing in reuniting adopted children with their birth families. Assuming both parties agree, that is. Her sister, Kate, a practicing psychologist, consults on cases.

Out of the blue, a TV producer and her cameraman arrive at Abby’s door, asking her to participate in the taping of their reality show that, hilariously, airs on Coyote TV. The show, Reality Check, is a “lifestyle makeover show,” providing houses, or scholarships, or cosmetic surgery, or, apparently, whatever will draw the most viewers. In this case, they received a letter detailing the story of Emma Lopez who has been taking care of her three younger siblings since she was a teenager. Their only asset, the home her father left to her, is scheduled to be demolished shortly, and Reality Check wants to make news by building them a bigger, better home, and perhaps providing for the younger kids’ college funds.

The one huge hitch in the plan? The letter, sent by persons unknown, includes details of a missing fourth sibling. The baby, who would be about 15 now, disappeared shortly after her birth. As Emma tells Abby, once Abby convinces her that she’s not part of the show, Mom was a raging alcoholic. Mom gave birth to the baby at home in the bathtub with only 8-year-old Emma in attendance. When Emma returned from school the next day, the baby was gone. Mom had a story that barely fooled an 8-year-old and sounds mighty suspicious to adults. Then, a few years later, Mom disappeared, leaving the remaining children alone.

Now that the production company knows all about this, Emma wants out of the deal, new house or not. But she desperately wants to know what happened to her baby sister. That’s where Abby and Kate come in; they’ll launch an investigation to try and reunite the family. They do warn Emma and her now-teenaged siblings that the outcome may not be happy. They have no idea how right they are. Mere days later a shocking discovery sends the investigation in a whole new direction.

This is the fourth in this fine series, and, for my money, far and away the best to this point. The storyline is more complicated, with many layers and some deeper, darker, emotions at play. As a character, Abby is completely believable. She’s a woman who is dedicated to her work because of her own life experience. Emma and her family are characters that readers will root for; from their past to their present, readers will want to see them come out on top. If you’ve never read a book in this series, this is a great place to start, and newcomers will have no problems doing so. The story will engage readers from the first page to the surprising outcome. I’m really looking forward to more along this line.

Rating: 8 ½
January 2007
ISBN# 978-0-451-22017-2 (paperback)


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