Although part of a series, this book works as a stand-alone, (although if you're planning to read the series, I recommend starting with A World the Color of Salt.) Smokey Brandon, one-time stripper and now an evidence tech for a California crime lab, faces her toughest challenge yet in The Juan Doe murders. A couple of new characters are introduced, including the adult son of Smokey's older divorced lover. This book is edgy and suspenseful, as are all of Noreen's books, but this one took a dark, unexpected twist at the end. As always, Noreen's writing is crisp and true. Fans of Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell will enjoy her graphic detail.