Xs: An Allie Armington Mystery
Louise Gaylord
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Buy *Xs: An Allie Armington Mystery* by Louise Gaylord online

Xs: An Allie Armington Mystery
Louise Gaylord
Little Moose Press
267 pages
January 2005
rated 3 of 5 possible stars
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What happens when Houston homegirl Allie Armington receives a distress call from her sister in New York? Everything imaginable.

Angela, a has-been top model, lives on the brink of danger. She calls Allie and tells her she needs some money wired before noon that day. Allie probes for the reasons why, but since her sister sounds desperate, she gives in, against her better judgment. Allie waits to hear from her sister all day and the next day. Finally, not knowing whether the money has been received or if Angela is alive, she hops a plane to New York to find out.

Upon arriving at her sister's townhouse, she finds that it wasn't the emergency Angela made it out to be. Alas, in the process of the visit, they find Angela's roommate murdered. Not an ordinary murder, either. This one is similar to several others that have occurred in the city over the last few months, down to the X marked on the left breast of the dead person.

The case becomes more high-profile than a more prosaic murder since there are other similar cases pending. The DEA and other agencies get involved as this turns out to be a drug case, out of jurisdiction for the New York cops. Allie takes on Angela's identity to help the group break the case. Things are going along pretty well in the investigation, but running up against a brick wall leaves Allie questioning herself and almost aborting the mission.

As Allie struggles to keep her mind on the case at hand, an old lover comes in to the picture, magnifying the doubts and reasons for doing what she is doing. Anytime an old lover gets involved, it is never good news. Suppressed feelings re-emerge, wounds reopen, and all the while allie is trying to keep her thoughts on catching a killer, exposing a drug ring, and determining how the drugs are being trafficked from Colombia to New Jersey.

It is difficult to connect with Allie, not least of all because the story is told in first-person present tense, something rarely done. Having not read the first in the series will leave readers feeling they've missed the development of the character. Othewise, Xs is a quick read.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Elysabeth Eldering, 2006

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