Buchanan, former multiple-award-winning crime reporter for the Miami Herald, enjoying a second successful career as an author, has created a fiesty, indefatigable Miami crime reporter in her heroine, Britt Montero. Montero, a Cuban-American, makes her second appearance in this 1994 novel, which juggles three different crime plots in the steamy atmosphere of mid-summer Miami.
Montero, whose lonely personal life is never going to get better as long as the job comes first, investigates a series of apt accidents, a serial rapist, and the 20-year old unsolved sex murder of a little girl. Plot lines come to the fore and recede into the background in a natural flow depending on Montero's attention.
The child's murder haunts an old cop friend, now dying of heart disease, who believes the hot new candidate for governor is the perp. Montero needles the candidate and interviews the child's family in her spare time.
Meanwhile, the rapist grows more violent and spooky with every success. Montero follows his trail from the police lab to her aunt's Santeria rituals, prying information from the police and piecing together articles which infuriate the rapist and make her a target.
And accidents keep happening to people who couldn't deserve them more.
Montero stays on top of the action, although she doesn't scoop the police completely, which is a nice touch. The newsroom, with its often conflicting interests and strained relationships with police, politicians and each other, crackles with energy.
Buchanan's Miami sizzles and Montero takes us to parts of her city no tourist will ever see.