RUMBLE ON THE BAYOU by Jana DeLeon (see her website)
Leisure Making It, October 2006
When a gator shows up in Maylene Thibodeaux's swimming pool, high on heroine and with a severed finger in his mouth, Deputy Dorie Berenger knows something out-of-the-ordinary is going on in Gator Bait, Louisiana. Normally the worst thing she deals with is public drunkenness or the occasional domestic dispute. Large quantities of hard drugs are definitely out of the ordinary.
When she sends samples to a crime lab trying to get an ID on the finger, she stirs up a hornet's nest. DEA agent Richard Starke shows up, as mysterious as he is annoying as he tries to take over Dorie's case. "Dick," as she calls him, ruffles Dorie's feathers in more ways than one. She'd like to dump the whole problem in his lap; on the other hand, she hates it that he thinks she's incompetent and unprofessional. In the end, taciturn Richard needs Dorie's help because she knows the bayous in and out. Like it or not, the two have to cooperate to catch a high-level drug smuggler Richard has been after for decades. But soon they find out they have more in common than they first thought. Uncovering long-buried secrets with shocking repercussions, each of them must make painful decisions as priorities change and love blossoms.
Dorie is a delightful, unusual and unpredictable heroine who definitely lives by her own rules, and buttoned-up Richard is the perfect foil for her. The bayou setting is richly portrayed, the plot twists and turns in unexpected directions, and the climax is something I've never seen in any book before! Jana DeLeon is a fresh new voice in women's fiction, and her debut book stands out in the crowd.
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