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Deep Pockets    by Linda Barnes order for
Deep Pockets
by Linda Barnes
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2004 (2004)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I've been asking myself lately why I'm so hooked on Linda Barnes' mysteries. Though always well developed, the plots aren't as intricate as many, nor the action as headlong. It's got to be the quirky characters that keep me coming back for more - from six-foot-tall, red-headed Carlotta Carlyle herself to her tough little sister Paolina, her exotic room-mate Roz, and the man she wants but can't have, Sam Gianelli, from a mob family.

In the previous episode, The Big Dig, Carlotta and FBI agent Leonard Wells met while both working undercover. Their romance continues into Deep Pockets, in which the PI's client, black Harvard professor Wilson Chaney, is referred by Leon. Chaney is being blackmailed about his past affair with one of his female students, a young rower named Denali, who died in a fire. Though it doesn't take Carlotta long to track down the blackmailer (who's done time), she soon discovers that the case is not as simple as it first appeared. Carlotta digs into the ties that various parties have to Improvisational Technologies, where brain chemistry hotshot Chaney has been developing a new drug to treat ADHD. And someone isn't happy about her investigation - who is shadowing the PI and how far will they go to stop her?

As usual, Carlotta works her case 'twenty-four/seven', fitting in time with Paolina (who's growing up too fast), for volleyball, and with new lover Leon - though that romance hits a rocky road as the case develops steam. Carlyle helps the victims, confronts the killer, and ties up the case. I enjoyed all the surprises in Deep Pockets, especially its very satisfactory ending, which will make fans anxious to read the next book in the series - hope we don't have too long to wait!

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