Five Star, Mar 2009, $25.95
In Egg Harbor, Wisconsin, fifteen year old Janell Margaris is missing. Door County Gazette reporter Leigh Girard covers the search and rescue by going out into the filed on the quest for the missing daughter of a wealthy “summer people” Chicago couple.
After an accidental dunking in the Mink River in which Joe Stillwater pulls her out of the icy water, Leigh finds a female corpse in the nearby woods. Janell’s bossy affluent father Russell arrives at the death scene and takes something from the body; the corpse turns out to be Janell’s estranged friend, all year teenage resident, Stephanie Evanson, whom Leigh interviewed that morning. While the Margaris trio flees for Chicago, Leigh wonders why anyone would be DESTROYING ANGELS like Stephanie. She quickly follows the runaway Margaris brood to confront the daughter about seeing an older man. As she digs deeper into the case, the cops arrest a local fisherman, but Leigh, believing they jailed the wrong person, still investigates and soon she and the killer begin to exchange letters.
This is an entertaining regional investigative whodunit with a few interesting twists starting with the first body found not being Janell. The fast-paced story line provides a sense of location especially the beauty of the Door Peninsular with the cold Mink River and nearby woods. Although serial killers providing clues to reporters is an overused technique, Gail Lukasik keeps her version brisk and exciting as Leigh places herself in peril in her second case.