Ellen Hart was named the 2017 MWA Grand Master, the most distinguished lifetime achievement award offered in the mystery community.
Minneapolis restaurateur and amateur sleuth Jane Lawless is in the middle of ringing in the New Year the best way she knows how—with her family, friends, and some excellent champagne—when the biggest financial backers in Minnesota politics break up the party with a little backroom proposition for her father: How'd he like to be the state's next governor?
Flattered, Ray Lawless, a retired defense attorney, agrees to run, and the latecomer's sprint to the state capital is going great until reporters and opponents start digging up the kind of dirt that is more valuable than gold out on the campaign trail. He and his family are fair game, but worse than that, so are the men running his campaign. Their secrets, involving the mysterious death of a young woman, have been buried since the summer they all came home from Vietnam. Unfortunately for Jane and her father, those secrets won't stay that way for long.
The Mortal Groove, the newest addition to Lambda and Minnesota Book Award--winning author Ellen Hart's multilayered Jane Lawless series, is a haunting tale of dark secrets that is sure to satisfy.
Hart's engrossing 15th mystery to feature lesbian restaurateur Jane Lawless (after 2006's Night Vision) will make excellent election-year reading. When Jane's father, Ray, is drafted to run for governor of Minnesota, the whole family gets involved in the race. Ray's chances look good until a fearless reporter, Melanie Gunderson, who happens to be in Jane's social circle, begins sniffing around a decades-old unsolved murder that might involve several of Ray's key staffers and financial backers. When Melanie is brutally attacked, Jane decides to solve the cold case herself. Her search takes her to smalltown Iowa and draws her into a debate about patriotism and military service that, although ostensibly about Vietnam, has contemporary resonance. The book isn't flawless; Hart gratuitously puts her own name on a list of queer lit authors, and Jane's long-distance lover, Kenzie, deserves a bigger role. Still, those are minor quibbles with an otherwise fun whodunit.