This is a very proficient debut novel in what has gone on to become an established series about Californian newspaperwoman Irene Kelly.
The book has -quite literally -an explosive start ,when Irene's friend and mentor the veteran journalist O'Connor is blown to pieces by a parcel bomb .Soon afterwards she herself is shot at in her own home and her former brother in law Kenny ,a resident in O'Connor's home is savagely beaten up and hospitalised .
She begins digging into O'Connor's recent cases and one turns out to be the key to events -an unsolved "Jane Doe " murder from 30 years previously about which O,Connor had repeatedly written . He was getting close to revealing both the identity of the murdered girl and in the process uncovering facts which several prominemt local politcal and social figures would rather leave in obscurity .
By continuing where O,Connor left off Irene is placing herself and others in harm's way -and the body count is by no means over
with Irene the target of two attempted murders before the case is wrapped up
Along the way she re-ignites a previous relationship with the detective in charge of the case and finds time to act as matchmaker to her oldest friend as well as getting closer to her sister
The book is moderately violent but not in lip smackingly gloating way and it occups the mid ground betwen cosy and hard boiled styles .
Good start to a series I will explore more deeply