In Martorana’s promising debut and series launch, veterinarian Kent Stephenson, who lives in Jefferson, N.Y., is shocked to learn that Aaron Whitmore, the upstate village’s former police chief, has been found dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. Kent can’t believe that Aaron committed suicide. Shortly before he died, Aaron, who became a journalist after leaving the force, told his mother he was working on a story that he feared would hurt her. Meanwhile, Kent joins forces with his brother, Merrill, who succeeded Aaron as police chief, to solve an arson case after a fire guts the research wing of Copithorn, a local company that tests cosmetics on animals. Copithorn was the recent target of a group of animal rights protesters headed by sexy celebrity Aubrey Fairbanks (“Testosterone gushed like toilets flushing, pouring into the bloodstream of every man in the place, when Audrey stepped into Kolbie’s Tavern”). The memorable characters and plotting will appeal to Paul Doiron fans. (BookLife)

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