Tami Hoag's novels have appeared regularly on the national bestseller lists since the publication of her first book in 1988. She lives in California.
After a messy and very public divorce from her magnate husband, Elizabeth Stuart is persuaded by her old college chum to move from Atlanta to Still Creek, Minn. When car trouble strikes, Elizabeth hoofs it to a construction site--and finds the developer, Jarrold Jarvis, in his car with his throat cut. Sheriff Dane Jantzen figures the deed was done by a transient: Jarrold's wallet was stolen and his glove compartment rifled. Elizabeth, who now owns the local newspaper, suspects most everyone in town: Jarvis had kept a secret list of names of people who owed him money. Dane and Elizabeth start off their eventual romance by treating each other like dirt--exchanging what passes for snappy repartee. Dane insists on escorting Elizabeth to a press conference because ``I want to know where your mouth is.'' She retorts, ``it won't be kissing your ass.'' The characters are no more agreeable than the plot is focused on finding the murderer. Perhaps that's why the effect of Hoag's ( Lucky's Lady ) story is less ``still'' than static. (Nov.)