Carmen Ramirez, Haddock's 24-year-old Irish-Puerto Rican lesbian protagonist, is no detective. Rather, she is a copy editor at her hometown newspaper in Frontier City, Oklahoma, where she lives in her homophobic grandmother's renovated garage and mourns the end of her first relationship. Assigned to assist a columnist, Carmen begins to dig into the two-year-old story of a lesbian teacher who molested and killed a 12-year-old, then committed suicide--or did she?
Carmen is pulled off the story, but she continues her investigation, asking tough questions and tangling with everyone, including an at-first suspicious lesbian bartender, her own boss, the schools, the powerful local church and, of course, her irascible grandmother. A trail of cover-ups and half-truths leads Carmen and love-interest/sidekick Julia to Lovell Taft University, where the murdered girl's sister is sequestered with her secrets. As Carmen draws closer to the truth, she risks job, relationships and even her life.
Fast-paced and with some funny turns of phrase and observations, but unfortunately it is also rather stereotypical and it seems like the author is in a rush to tell the story which makes for some (too) easy outs. Still, the writing is good and flows well, so there's hope for a more "meaty" second installment.