Easy to take a chance on unfamiliar authors when a collection of four mysteries pops up for my Kindle for $.99. The first was Darkness on the Edge of Town, and I will seek out more from this author.
The plot concerns Laura Cardinal, an investigative agent for the Arizona Department of Public Safety (sort of like the CBI, or Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, etc.) who is sent around the state to help small communities with limited homicide investigation resources. A fourteen-year-old girl has been found dead displayed in a doll's costume in a park in a tourist town. Soon, she is linked to a series of other murders, except that she doesn’t seem to fit the pattern.
There is the usual tension between the state cops and the locals, but the explanation seems more rational in this case than sometimes. Some of the investigative scenes were good, especially the stuff in Florida and her tenacity in the face of adversity. It lacked the more solid authenticity of a McBain police procedural, however (well, except for the Deaf Man.)
The ending was a bit over the top and strained credulity, nevertheless, a good start to what looks to be a series.