The first thing to you need to keep in mind when you start this book is it was originally published in 1991. The depictions of Georgia society is most likely based in fact and although you may not believe it's accurate, and it's certainly has toned that down today, but in 1991 there were still people around like Queen and the women in high society were what their husband's made them. Keeping up appearances was what it was all about, but behind closed doors....
Here is the set up:
The story involves Samantha a woman returning home to work at the local newspaper after a stellar career as an investigative reporter in San Francisco and a hard fought battle with alcohol. Her lover has died and she no longer has a taste for the hard core murder scenes. But, being back home also means readjusting to the old south way of life and the inevitable run in with the man who broke her heart many years ago, Beau, who is now the medical examiner. When a well to do attorney, Forrest Ridley is found dead it initially looks like a horrible accident, but there may be more to it and Samantha's nose for news and her gut is telling her something is off. So, while the cops are going with the open and shut theory, Samantha is being hounded by Beau, who is totally contrite about their break up and is trying to make amends, to dig a little to see what might crop up. This is not the story Samantha was chasing but its bears looking into.
The main trouble with the book is as I mentioned earlier, it is just a little dated. I thought the story played out like a southern soap opera with corrupt cops, illegal drugs, big money and numerous sordid affairs. I'm not sure if everyone will understand the lay of the land when this story was written, but I understand this type of book was really popular in the early 1990's. Remember the night time soaps like Dynasty and Falcon's Crest were still really big on TV.
Big meltdowns and conniving schemes all of which culminated in a death, which in turn brought all those sins to the surface. There were a few issues I think could have used a little more fleshing out and I did kind of wonder where Samantha and Beau were going to end up. They seemed a little more at ease with each other in the end though.
What made the book worth reading all the way through to the scandalous conclusion was Samantha's character. She respected the old southern ways even though she didn't actually believe in them nor practice them. But, she had enough of that way of life instilled in her she made adjustments in order to get the job done.
I liked Uncle George and Peaches, and Samantha's little dog, characters that rounded out the story and gave it a dose of southern charm. There were also a few funny remarks along the way that helped balance out all that heavy drama.
In the end Samantha gets that story she was so hot to cover and she blows the lid off a scandal that people would be talking about for years to come. I think she found her niche at the small town newspaper and will fit into the slower pace of live just fine.
Home again in Atlanta after years on the Left Coast, crime reporter Samantha Adams finds that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Beau, the boy who broke her heart eons earlier, is more handsome than ever and is now the Medical Examiner.
In the South, good manners (and keen protective instincts) prevent folks from saying what they mean, particularly about extramarital “slippin’ and slidin’.” And backwoods sheriffs still rule their fiefdoms with a strong hand and steady aim.
Sam finds herself deep in the kudzu once more when a lawyer, a family acquaintance, goes missing, then turns up dead. When the sheriff rules it an accident, Sam and Beau team up to deliver their own unique brand of justice.