The Mortal Groove
St. Martin's, Dec 2007, $25.95
In Minnesota, Ray Lawless is considering a run for governor. His family, especially his daughter lesbian restaurateur Jane Lawless encourages him. As she and the rest of the relatives actively get involved, Ray realizes his chances of winning are good.
However, the media begins sniffing into the past of the Lawless brood and his key staffers. Reporter Melanie Gunderson especially looks at a cold case homicide that has ties to Ray’s prime workers. Shockingly someone viciously assaults Melanie. Knowing the journalist and concerned for the victim and that the incident and the decades old murder will derail her dad’s chances, Jane investigates. Her efforts lead to Iowa and serving in Vietnam.
THE MORTAL GROOVE is an interesting political whodunit that asks the question can someone who never served in the military claim the mantle of patriotism as so many chicken hawks do. The story line is fast-paced from the moment that an unknown thug batters Melanie and never slows down until the final confrontation. Although having Jane’s significant other and her appear more often together especially on the campaign trail would have been the perfect sweetener, Ellen Hart provides a strong mystery with a deep message that no one asks about one’s sexual preference in the foxholes.