You can't go home again - or can you? Zoey Jones, fresh off a divorce from not only an unemotional husband but an incompatible lifestyle maintaining an expensive house in a cookie cutter upper middle-class neighborhood in Kansas City, is soon to find out.
Tending bar in her uncle's neighborhood establishment, she's moved back to her hometown of Blythesville, MO, with her teenaged daughter, Claire.
As are all of Suzann Ledbetter's heroines, Zoey is refreshingly down-to-earth and easy to like. No high-falutin' pretentious career or penchant for globe-trotting for this gal. If her life seems familiar, it's because it is. Who among Ledbetter's army of loyal fans haven't dealt with teenage rebellion, aging and ailing parents, or the wet-palms inducing thoughts of dating again after a long, unhappy marriage?
It's because of Zoey's very real problems and challenges that we immediately feel comfortable with and empathize with her. When the unthinkable happens, and Zoey's father, Charlie French, is arrested for a murder he didn't commit, we care about her, and are right there with her as she handles the crisis.
Ledbetter deftly weaves into her plots a number of references to the societal ills inherent today, all without cramming anything down our throats. As the suspense builds and the stakes get even higher for Zoey and her family, Hank Westlake, Blytheville's top homicide detective, deals with his rekindled feelings for Zoey while using his savvy to solve a murder that on the surface looks like open-and-shut, but in reality is anything but. His appeal, too, lies in his humanity. No unreachable knight here, instead a guy we can picture easily as the shy seventeen year-old he once was, smitten with Zoey all those years ago, but too awkward to make a move. Haven't we all wondered what became of the guy we didn't date? Ledbetter answers that question, too.
Ledbetter's talent for dialogue shines once again in "Ahead of the Game," as does her trademark humor and quirky takes on the mundane events of life.
Two characters who add their own brand of charm to this tale (or is it tail?) are Fred and Bob, Zoey's rescued greyhounds. They provide comic relief in a story that deals with important subjects while themselves bringing attention to the plight of retired racing dogs.
So, can you go home again? Suzann Ledbetter answers that question with a story brimming with suspense, romance, and family. Make a visit to Blythesville, and drop in on Zoey, Hank, Claire, Charlie and Vesta. You may find you never want to leave.