There's an unpleasant surprise waiting outside Wyoming college professor Sally Alder's office on a cold blustery afternoon: a female student, Charlie Preston, recently and brutally battered. Since Charlie refuses to call the cops, tell her family, or see a doctor, Sally has no other recourse but to give the damaged girl the coat off her back, the cash in her wallet, and to wish her good luck.
But two weeks after Charlie vanishes, the body of her estranged father is found, beaten to death in an alley. Now Sally is racing to find the missing girl before the police do, since she's far less convinced of Charlie's guilt than they are. And a killer may be hiding in a maze of lethal secrets and dark passions, preparing to inflict a terrible punishment on a frightened young woman . . . and perhaps on her overly inquisitive teacher as well.
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Virginia Swift teaches history at the University of New Mexico. She also writes nonfiction under the name of Virginia Scharff. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.From Publishers Weekly:
Swift's fourth Mustang Sally mystery (after 2004's Bye, Bye Love) sizzles with partisan politics, sexual attraction and murder. Sally Alder, a University of Wyoming women's studies professor, is shaken to learn that one of her female students, Charlie Preston, has been beaten up. Though Sally's unsure who's responsible, she knows that Charlie's dad, Brad Preston, has roughed up Charlie in the past. After coming to Sally for help, the girl disappears—and a few weeks later, papa Preston is found bludgeoned to death. Who killed Brad? Was it Charlie, or her boyfriend, out for revenge? Was it a local Democratic activist, horrified by the prospect that Brad—a right-wing zealot—planned to run for Congress? Also interested in the case is Dave Haggerty, a handsome single attorney, who's captivated by Sally. Despite her long-standing relationship with hunky Hawk Green, Sally finds herself enjoying Dave's attentions. Clearing Charlie's name, it turns out, will cause Sally to endanger her relationship with Hawk—and her life. This engrossing novel should win new readers to Swift's series. (Mar.)
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