On her way to meet her boyfriend's parents, college professor Alison Bergeron stops by a coffee shop to steel her resolve. It's a big event. Not only is it the first time she's met NYPD detective Bobby Crawford's entire family, but it's coming on the heels of a wedding proposal that she has left unanswered so far.
Then, as she steps into the shop, a brawl breaks out that ends in the death of Carter Wilmott, a merciless and loathed local blogger. The case couldn't be any simpler, and Alison witnessed the whole thing, but when Wilmott's car explodes in the aftermath, what looked to be a crime of passion becomes something far more complicated and maybe even premeditate.
With Alison and Bobby involved in the case and with each other, readers are in for a treat. Third Degree, the latest in Maggie Barbieri's charming mystery series, is one heated mystery with plenty of steamy romance and cunning villains who are about to get burned.
Barbieri's fizzy fifth mystery featuring English professor Alison Bergeron (after 2009's Final Exam) rates well more than a passing grade. At a Westchester County coffee shop near the college where she teaches, Alison bumps into a fistfight between troublemaking blogger Carter Wilmott and his arch enemy, George Miller. The police burst onto the scene just as George hits Carter in the head, knocking him to the floor. A cop administers CPR to no avail. Alison and her NYPD detective boyfriend, Bobby Crawford, believe it's a slam-dunk case of manslaughter, until disturbing events persuade them otherwise. If George's blow didn't kill Carter, some arsenic in his body might have. Meanwhile, Alison has to worry about the threatening notes she starts to receive and the disappearance of her school chaplain friend, Fr. Kevin McManus. Some punchy plot twists catapult the action to a satisfying reveal.