Bridger's Last Stand

Every Little Thing

Madiganís Wife
by Linda Winstead Jones
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1068, $4.50, PG) ISBN-0-373-27138-7
Madiganís Wife is one of the rare stories based upon the big misunderstanding that has credibility and actually works. Although set in Huntsville Alabama, it could be placed in Anytown, USA .

Grace Madigan was the first of Rayís Madiganís three wives. Six years prior to the beginning of Madiganís Wife, Grace left Ray and relocated in Chattanooga. As a police officer, Ray was a true white knight, using his body as a shield to protect any and all potential victims. Three times, in the middle of the night, Grace had been taken to him in the emergency room, all but certain that his current wound would be fatal.

Repeatedly, Grace begged Ray to quit law enforcement. When he refused, she decided she could bear the stress and anxiety no longer, so she left him. Six years later, she returns to find Ray had married and divorced twice more and had been forced to resign from the police department. He is currently a private investigator.

Tentatively they renew their friendship, and one morning while Grace is jogging she witnesses a brutal murder. The killer sees Grace and gives chase and she escapes to Rayís apartment. Although Ray is still in love with Grace, he has insulated that emotion by surrounding it with a great wall of anger at her for leaving him without a credible explanation.

Knowing that the killer can identify Grace, and knowing that she will be the next likely target supercharges Rayís protective instincts. To identify the killer, Ray calls in his chips - with the FBI and with his old partner. Stymied by their lack of progress, Ray and Grace start investigating on their own.

Jones does a nice job of reigniting the romance between Ray and Grace while evenly balancing the mounting suspense. The identification of the killer is a bit easily accomplished but the resolution of Grace and Rayís personal conflict is artfully and carefully crafted.

The principals are warmly drawn, and likeable. The dialogue is crisp and points of view shifts are deftly made. Madiganís Wife is an enjoyable variation of a very old plot lineÖthe big misunderstanding: the causes, the consequences, and the resolution.

--Thea Davis

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