by Maryann Miller
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432825980
Date: 14 November 2012
The second of Miller's Seasons mysteries, Stalking Season, features homicide detectives Sarah Kingsly and her partner Angel Johnson. The two are assigned to the murder of a young girl found in a sleazy motel. Once she is identified as the daughter of a wealthy property developer, the pressure on the police to find the killer becomes intense.
The two detectives, one white, one black, are still at odds. After the death of Sarah's former partner, she began drinking heavily. Filled with grief and anger, she was less than welcoming to her new partner. Angel, a black woman with an angry father who hates whites, has her own problems.
The young victim appears to have been killed and her body arranged in a ritualistic manner. She remains unidentified until a friend reports a missing person. A second murder occurs, but while the setup appears similar, there are no links between the two victims except both occurred in motels frequented by prostitutes. The second victim was a known prostitute while the first was not. However, the young woman had been looking for excitement and easy money.
The two women had no known contacts in common. Sharon, Angel, and other officers work to separate out the clues and determine whether they seek one killer or two.
When Sarah confronts the first victim's parents, they become angry and threaten action against her. They had only sporadic contact with their daughter once she left for college. They once had bought off a young Latino the girl had tutored. He never cashed the check. Given his checkered history, the police add his name to their suspect list.
A number of hints are provided about the killer, but are not fully developed in the novel or resolved by the end. The complex motive is suggested, but not revealed.
Near the end, when Sarah considers a possible relationship with Angelís brother, it threatens their fragile partnership. Readers can expect to see this develop in the next mystery from Miller.