A Washington, D.C., politico with a notoriously roving eye, whiffs of scandal back in his insular home state, even an engaging hound named Buddy—nope, despite what you may be thinking, this is not the Bill Clinton story. Instead, author Smith exploits current headlines to put a knowing, insider gloss on her tale of old sins and timeless treachery.
The smooth operator here is actually Rhode Island Rep. Owen Hall, who seduces unhappily married true-crime writer Denise Burke into investigating a triple murder in his district—and much more. But no sooner does she start to believe the wrong man may have been imprisoned than both her life and Hall's are jeopardized. With its fascinating setup and scrappy sleuth, Smith's fifth novel is a fast-paced thriller that truly respects a reader's intelligence. (Holt, $23)