All he remembered was the furtive encounter, the terror of discovery, the burning cigarette. . . and the voyeur on the fire escape plummeting to his death. For twenty years, Todd Mills was safe, closeted, building his career as a two-time Emmy Award-winning TV reporter. He had it alluntil his double life became front-page news. Since his lover's murder, Todd hadn't worked. It was the first pause in his professional life.
Now he's out, warily beginning a romance with police detective Steve Rawlins, when an old friend, an ex-girlfriend, calls for help. The son she gave up for adoption years before has found herand left his baby. Now she and the baby are being stalked by a cult of zealots who will stop at nothing to reclaim the child. But as Todd steps into the firing range of The Congregation, he's forced to face the nightmare of his own buried past, as murderous secrets return to kill again. . . .
The crisp Minneapolis winter is the stage for the unraveling of old secrets in this latest Todd Mills mystery. Trying to move on with his life after the murder of his lover, Michael, Mills, a respected journalist, is taken by surprise when college sexual encounters reemerge to disrupt both his life and that of his best friend, lesbian attorney Janice Gray. Janice, it turns out, had a son either by Todd or by another classmate, who also had an affair with Todd. Now that son, Zeb, appears, desperate to protect his own baby daughter from the religious cult of his adoptive father. The plot unfolds swiftly and efficiently, and the characters have widely diverse but always believable motives. But what makes this mystery stand out goes deeper than narrative and characterization. The importance of loving friendships and the implications of homophobia and self-loathing (really internalized homophobia) lie at the heart of this multifaceted story. (Aug.)