Pickard, Nancy

Marie Lightfoot
Pickard, Nancy - Florida Authors The Whole Truth (2000)
From Publishers Weekly
In a sensational change of pace, Anthony Award-winner Pickard sets aside her Jenny Cain series (Twilight, Confession, etc.) for a fast-moving thriller that literally starts with a bang. True-crime writer Marie Lightfoot is covering the murder trial of Raymond Raintree, accused of kidnapping and killing, and extracting the pineal gland of, a six-year-old girl in Maria's hometown of Bahia Beach, Fla. When convicted, Raintree charges the judge, who whips out a pistol and shoots him. Feigning unconsciousness, Raintree manages to escape. The story then seamlessly alternates between Marie's narration of the manhunt for Raintree and chapters of Marie's book, The Little Mermaid, about the background to the trial. Raintree is a cipher, a seemingly illiterate but clever outcast with no past. Pickard delves deeply into the personality and psyche of this repellent yet sympathetic monster who was kidnapped and abused as a child. After finding and arresting the fugitive, the police never question the anomalies in the case (how could an uneducated man perform a delicate surgical procedure?) nor do they respond to calls from a retired Kansas sheriff who believes Raintree is John Kepler, who was kidnapped 22 years ago. Because of her fame, Marie is contacted by Kepler's parents, and the course of the novel shifts dramatically as Marie becomes personally involved. Mrs. Kepler's wish to see her son again spurs the frightening climax to this stunning synthesis of psychological suspense and commentary on our culture of celebrity. Featured alternate of the Mystery Guild; 9-city author tour. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Pickard, Nancy - Florida Authors Ring of Truth (2001)
From Publishers Weekly
The appearance of The Whole Truth a year ago jolted readers and thrilled critics. Pickard, a popular writer of conventional mysteries, took off on a risky, imaginative tangent, making her protagonist, Marie Lightfoot, an author of true crime books, and alternating Lightfoot's personal story with her work-in-progress. Now Lightfoot is back, and once again Pickard crafts a marvelous behind-the-scenes thriller. As the novel begins, Lightfoot is beginning to edit her latest true-crime thriller, set in her hometown, Bahia Beach, Fla. The tale she has to tell is riveting minister Bob Wing and his lover, Artie, murder the minister's wife, Susanna but Lightfoot can't shake the feeling that some crucial element is missing. Nobody has anything bad to say about the charismatic Wing, who was an anti-death penalty crusader. He is now on death row himself, right next to Steve Orbach, a young man he had been trying to liberate. Once Lightfoot begins to investigate, both cases are revealed to be full of holes. How to explain the seven pairs of wedding rings found by the two little girls when they discovered Susanna's body? Is it possible that the police were too eager to arrest and convict both men? The clock is ticking for Orbach and Wing, and the separate solutions to the mysteries only come to light at the very last minute. Cleverly unraveling Lightfoot's original manuscript as she proceeds, Pickard constructs an intricate, perfectly timed double mystery. The dastardly plot she reveals at last is satisfyingly grotesque, and Lightfoot is a down-to-earth heroine, plagued with all the convincing problems of a real-life writer. Pickard never lets her premise descend into gimmick this second installment is as fresh and satisfying as the first. Mystery Guild Main Selection.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Pickard, Nancy - Florida Authors The Truth Hurts (2002)
From Publishers Weekly
In Edgar nominee Pickard's third gripping Marie Lightfoot mystery (The Whole Truth; Ring of Truth), the Florida-based true crime writer is working on a book about her parents, civil rights activists in Alabama who disappeared in 1963 when Lightfoot was a toddler. She's suddenly threatened by a mysterious fan, who signs his emails Paulie Barnes and demands that she collaborate with him on a book about her own murder, or he'll start killing her friends, including her lover, Franklin DeWeese. As the police work feverishly to find the elusive Barnes, he sends Lightfoot to the town where her parents were part of a modern-day "underground railroad" network, and to meetings with their former associates. As in her sensational earlier entries, the chapters alternate between Lightfoot's third-person manuscript in which she reconstructs her parents' last days and a first-person narrative of her harrowing personal experiences. This makes for slightly disjointed reading, although it effectively shows how the present is tied to the past. Pickard excels in recreating the dangerous atmosphere of the South in the early '60s, when the white establishment used threats and murder to prevent the enforcement of civil rights laws. A solution that's obvious to the reader long before Lightfoot discovers it and some repetition undercut the suspense a bit, but Pickard succeeds with the daring Marie Lightfoot, attractive secondary characters, vivid Florida setting, a keen sense of history and a singular plot device.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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