Want a good, fast-paced mystery? Once again, Debbi Mack has scored a hit, this time with Riptide, the latest outing in the Sam McRae series. Here, attorney Stephanie Ann McRae (Sam) accompanies her friend Jamila, who is scheduled to speak at a Bar Association convention. Sam, who doesn't care about the boring convention, is looking forward to a nice vacation by the sea. It doesn't turn out that way, though, as Sam is roused in the middle of the night to see her friend taken for questioning in a murder.
Sam and Jamila had encountered the murder victim, a racist redneck, in previous confrontations, and when personal items of Jamila are found by the victim, the locals assume she is the killer. She hires a defense attorney, but they're up against a powerful, vengeful local family-- of which the deceased was a member.
Sam, of course, is not about to let her friend get railroaded, and starts investigating. Things just keep getting worse, as the weight of evidence mounts against her friend. Complicating things is the arrival of other people Sam has had encounters with-- some bad, some good, but of a nature Sam doesn't want to admit to.
As Sam tries to unravel the threads of what happened, she runs into a number of hostile folk, and eventually stumbles across a web of secrets and corruption. She is dogged in her pursuit of the truth, and manages to pry little bits of the puzzle out of reluctant witnesses and put the pieces together. She finds herself enmeshed in an alien world. Suffering hounding reporters, shadowy people following her, and malicious vandals, Sam tenaciously ferrets out the truth.
Another murder raises the stakes, and Sam must then race against time to expose the killer, as she herself comes under suspicion.
Sam is a great character, nice to the nice people, but sassy and snappy to the jerks. She has a quick temper for injustice, and is not afraid to speak her mind. She bribes, cajoles, and confronts people in an effort to find information. She even marches right into the lion's den, unstoppable in her quest to exonerate Jamila.
This is the third outing of Sam McRae. You'll want to read the first two, Identity Crisis and Least Wanted.