Susan Callisto, a Boston real-estate lawyer turned political consultant who's pushing 30 and scrambling to pay the bills, is hired by the well-heeled Charles (aka Chaz) Renfrow at the 11th hour to consult on his run for mayor. The incumbent is harassing Renfrow's biotech company, NovoGenTech, or NGT, and Chaz is willing to pay Susan $20,000 to handle the situation. Managing not to faint at the sight of so many zeros, Susan takes the check, even as she asks herself, "Why me?"
Susan has no idea what's going on and doesn't get her first clue until Chaz's assistant Torie turns up dead in the trunk of her car. Murdered, possibly because of things she threatened to tell about NGT and toxic waste dumping. Susan starts to smell a rat.
What ensues is a riotous tangle of trouble, which readers may need a flowchart to follow. Let's just say it involves campaign antics, shady politicians (including one who's gunning for another of Susan's political clients, Roddie Baird), a corporate coverup (NGT), a couple of wives who may not be quite what they seem (Chaz's and Roddie's), an assassination (Chaz's), a friend in a coma (Nino Biondi, Susan's "half-stand-in grandpa"), and a complicated professional vs. personal conflict (did I mention Susan's ex, detective Michael, is investigating both murders?). Remarkably, these events all tie together and lead up to a big climax in which the killers are revealed. The answers will rock Susan's world in ways she can't begin to imagine. It is a purposefully convoluted plot, but Angela Gerst writes with assured and fluid prose. Susan Callisto is a funny, strong protagonist worthy of a long series of books. Enjoy the ride and don't sweat the details.