Finding the bludgeoned body of bestselling author Isadora Powell sends Anne Jamieson and her four remaining critique partners into a panic. All have secrets and motives for seeing the woman dead. And the victim, a genius at research, knew what lay hidden. With Anne leading the way, they attempt to help the police solve the crime. But each bit of evidence unearthed peels another layer from those secrets. Lies to the police and each other trip them up at every turn. Can they find the murderer before he or she strikes again? Could it be one of them? And can the budding relationship between Anne and lead detective Gil Collins flourish under a cloud of suspicion?
An inner voice begged Anne not to climb the stairs. Dorie was often thoughtless, but Nancy was right. With her first sale in four years, Dorie would want to crow.
A chill skittered along her arms causing the hair to rise. She wanted to dismiss it as a reaction to air-conditioning on overheated skin, but intuition suggested something was off key. They trooped upstairs and stopped in front of the closed office door.
Candace didn’t bother to knock, but opened the door to the sacred chamber. The room was dark thanks to the black walls and draperies covering the window. The only light source emanated from the computer screen.
Isadora Powell lay slumped over the keyboard, her head, complete with headphones, rested against the monitor, and her fingers, trapped beneath her torso, continued to send the cursor across the screen in never-ending rows of the letter “k.” A wine glass lay on its side. The iPod dangled off the edge of the desk.
Anne followed Nancy into the room.
Candace trailed, saying, “Oh for Pete’s sake, she’s sound asleep or dead drunk.”
Nancy stepped forward. “Dorie?” she said with a catch in her voice, and then leaned in closer.
Anne flipped the light switch. Nancy yelped and leaped back. The monitor, desk, and the back of Dorie’s head were covered with blood.
Nancy turned, her eyes wide, and said gasping, “She’s not drunk—just dead.”
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