Malice Domestic–winner 2004
Attorney Avery Andrews left her BMW behind in Columbia, South Carolina, along with her job at a high-powered law firm. She's come back home to Dacus where the vehicle of choice is a pickup truck with a dog chained in the back. Avery wants time to rethink her career and her life.What she gets is a bossy great aunt drumming up clients and dragging her to social teas. That's how Avery ends up hired by a local factory to help with a messy environmental problem. But she's at Luna Lake when divers find a car containing a corpse because an old high school classmate is trying to get her attention with a half-baked stunt. Now, the discovery of the dead body sweeps Avery into a red hot case...and into the sizzling secrets of small town life, where some people get away with murder.
"Pickens, a lawyer and teacher with deep roots in the Carolinas, balances the dark and light aspects of the subgenre adeptly, and almost always manages to avoid corn and sentimentality."
"The world of Dacus, soaked in tart atmosphere, is well worth a visit." --Kirkus Reviews
"[An] assured debut, a cozy with some sharp edges...this strong start augurs well for future books in the series." -Publishers Weekly