This early novel of the bestselling thriller writer Tess Gerritsen was published in the US as Peggy Sue Got Murdered, and has not been published in the UK until now. Which means we Britons have missed out on some very mundane prose, a predictable plot and the usual clichés that the genre scatters around.
Gerritsen's heroine, Boston medical examiner Kat Novak, is classically alone (in this case, divorced), hard-boiled (she grew up in Boston's tough social housing projects) and a maverick who, inevitably, breaks the rules. In this story, drug addicts from the projects are dying with a strange, new substance found in their bloodstream. This substance is linked to a huge Boston pharmaceutical company, to whose handsome but dubious owner, Adam Quantrell, Novak finds herself irresistibly attracted. Quantrell's step-daughter has gone missing in the projects, though, so it's a race against time for Novak and Quantrell to find her before this evil new substance does. But a few political swipes at those in power who pretend to care about poverty and drug addiction but are only thinking about their own advancement are not enough to raise this above a poor norm.