Alyson, May 2007, $14.96
In San Diego Tess Camillo is taken aback to find a rattlesnake in her bedroom. Animal control takes the snake away without Tess or her roommate Lana getting hurt. The police do a cursory inquiry, but conclude the incident was not deliberate.
Not long after her serpentine encounter, Tess meets Darlene Nealson in the lesbian community. They swap reptile stories, as Darlene explains that a rattler killer her lover Belle in their home. Uncomfortable with the police explanations of her incident even before Darlene’s revelation, Tess makes inquires trying to find a link between her and Belle beyond just being lesbians although she has not written off hate crimes.
This is a terrific amateur sleuth tale as Tess learns first hand about snakes not in a plane but seemingly everywhere else she goes. Tess makes the tale work as she also struggles with breast cancer, but that only strengthens her resolve to find the snake trying to kill her. Readers will root for this middle aged woman who strengthens her resolve to find the snake trying to kill her. Readers will adore this middle aged "Criminitlies" woman whose noble significant other of the moment is her Welsh terrier, Raj.