Lt. Sheila Brady is a detective in the small, quiet city of River Oaks, Wisconsin. A newcomer to the force and the city, Brady is the mother of a young daughter and becomes the object of the affections of a number of local men, none of whom, she feels, is exactly right for her.
But she and her daughter are hardly even settled into their new home when Brady is confronted with a series of ghastly and brutal child-murders that shatter the peaceful, neighborly image of the city. A serial killer is hunting down pretty preteen girls and ritually murdering them. He taunts his pursuers by leaving behind him, every time, a souvenir of his presence in the form of sunflower seeds.
The clue is of no help to Brady, however, since the sunflower is the local gardening specialty and once was the staple crop of the area. Practically everyone in River Oaks grows sunflowers, and there is even an annual sunflower contest. Patient, courageous, trying to live down a past shooting incident as a big-city police officer in which her partner blamed her for freezing up in a firefight, Brady gradually begins to penetrate the city's faÃ§ade of respectability and civic boosterism to uncover a kind of Midwestern Peyton Place. Though she unearths a good many potential suspects, the murders continue. Finally, with the backing of her tough, demanding chief of police, she uses herself to bait and provoke the killer, only to discover that she may be destined to be his last victim....
In a brilliant and suspenseful climax, Sheila Brady is forced to confront her own worst nightmares and fears, as she faces down a man who now has her beloved daughter in his hands.
In Sheila Brady, Martha Powers has created a marvelous new heroine -- tough, fragile, resourceful, and deeply caring, with depths to her life and soul that carry her far beyond the realms of most suspense fiction.
Sunflower is the hardcover debut of a major new talent.
About: Detective Sheila Brady is a newcomer to the small town of River Oaks, Wisconsin, and is determined that its peace will not be disturbed by a series of brutal child murders somehow related to her and her daughter
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