by Suzann Ledbetter

September 2004
ISBN: 0-7783-2068-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Mira Books
Mass Market Paperback

If you are a fan of quirky characters and subtle humor then pull up a comfy chair, your favorite drink and snack, and settle in with Ahead of the Game by Suzanne Ledbetter.

Zoey France Jones has moved back to her hometown. Sheís come back with a teenage daughter and a failed marriage to her name. She hasnít brought much more than that back. Her ex-husband Stuart is nowhere in the picture, though his name is mentioned from time to time.

Zoeyís mom and dad, Vesta and Charlie, live across the backyard from Zoey and her daughter, Claire. The other character of note in Ahead of the Game is Hank Westlake. Heís now a detective with the Blytheville Police Department. Though many years have passed, he is still carrying a torch for Zoey. This time will he get to watch it flare to life and not die?

Naturally, true love can never run smoothly. Why should the second chance at finding this love be any different than the first? Hank has finally worked up his nerve to see Zoey who is working at her Uncle Alís bar. Their friendship is moving slowly forward when it comes to a sudden screeching halt. What could bring a lust thatís been a long time brewing to a halt?

How about a burglary turned into a homicide investigation with the father of the girl as the prime suspect? Thatís exactly what happens to Zoey and Hank. Hank is called to the scene of a murder, while on a date with Zoey no less. When they arrive Charlie is on the scene covered in the dead manís blood. Hank has no choice but to arrest Charlie.

How the investigation proceeds makes for interesting reading. Ms. Ledbetter leads her readers to and from different suspects. The story never loses the focus that Charlieís family believes him to be wrongly accused and they stand by the husband, father, and grandfather they dearly love.

In addition to these main characters, Ms. Ledbetter has a cast of secondary characters you canít help but love. I havenít read anything by Suzanne Ledbetter until now. However, if you read my reviews you know Iím a fan of romantic comedy as well as romantic suspense. Ms. Ledbetterís Ahead of the Game blended both these aspects to a degree that I'm sure must be hard to achieve. Time for me to do some backlist hunting, and to add another name to my list of authors-to-look for when Iím in the bookstore.

Reviewed in October 2004 by Sandi.

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