“Little White Lies” by Margaret Fenton (Aakenbaaker & Kent, $16.99) is a highly atmospheric crime novel set in and around contemporary Birmingham, Alabama.
It showcases Claire Conover, a hard-working child welfare social worker with years of experience for the Department of Health Services (DHS).
The slim 170-page oversized paperback begins with a bang: the office of Black mayoral candidate Dr. Marcus Freedman has been bombed.
While Marcus was not in the office, his campaign manager Jason O’Dell was – and died in the explosion.
Jason’s biracial infant daughter Maddie was in daycare. Maddie’s mother, Tameka, had died of a drug overdose.
Soon Claire is assigned to assist by the DHS.
The FBI is called in, and the case is considered racially motivated, not a terrorist attack.
Claire’s life is already complicated – she’s taking care of LaReesa, a conflicted teenager whose mother and aunt are in prison.
LaReesa is a victim of child abuse and sex trafficking; her grandmother is dead, too.
More challenges arise for Claire: her relationship with Grant, her computer programmer boyfriend, is becoming more stressful.
Claire is getting attention from Kirk, an investigative newspaper reporter.
Kirk is following up a major discovery; Jason has been living under an assumed name and is really the son of James Alsbrook, an arrogant multimillionaire.
Alsbrook’s company has been recently responsible for a large number of avoidable mining accidents and related deaths.
But nothing is really black or white: danger lurks as motives surface, emotions boil over and tensions flare.
“Little White Lies” by former social worker Margaret Fenton is a fast-paced, gripping regional crime novel.
It’s the third in the series starring Claire Conover, following “Little Lamb Lost” and ” Little Girl Gone”.
Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed mysteries and Michigan books regularly since 1987. His email address is email@example.com.