Going to the Bad: A Lilly Hawkins Mystery by Nora McFarland (Touchstone Paperback, $15.00, 304 pages) Here we are back in Bakersfield with the crew of TV station KJAY. Going to the Bad is the third episode in the excellent mystery series written by former news camera person Nora McFarland. This time around the book retains the same attention to heart and action present in the first two books (A Bad Day’s Work and Hot, Shot, and Bothered). The main character, Lilly Hawkins, is living with Rod, the handsome newsman turned behind-the-camera executive, in her Uncle Bud’s house.
The story develops around a shooting at the house. As with anything related to Bud, there are layers of secrecy and shady dealings. The timeline for the tale spans about 32 hours – from the morning of Christmas Eve until late afternoon the following day. The significance of the time of year with its emphasis on family plays well given the interwoven families whose past secrets inform the solution to the identification of the assailant.
Author McFarland advances her characters with challenges to their loyalty, a recurring theme of the three books. There is also an undercurrent, a strong one, related to social classes and the disparity among them. The homes inhabited by the characters are vastly different as are their financial situations. When faced with challenges by outsiders, each of the families comes to grips with it in its own way. This book is about both letting go and commitment. The plot is engaging and makes it a speedy read, even though Lilly spends most of the time running on empty.
A review copy was provided by the publisher. Going to the Bad will be released on August 7, 2012. “An unforgettable heroine… Funny, smart, and honest. Packed full of adrenaline and attitude.” Lisa Scottoline, author of Look Again.