"SECRETS THAT KILL," by Colleen Holme, $10.95, 178 pages (f)
Shelby Nichols can read minds, but she can't seem to stay out of risky situations.
This time around, in "Secrets That Kill," the housewife-soccer-mom-amateur-sleuth is asked to drop off a missive from "Uncle Joey the Knife" Manetto, the mobster who keeps asking for her help with his business.
It's on her way so she sends her family ahead to catch the flight home from Disneyland. She'll still make her plane, of course.
From there, it's one adventure after another as she tries to get safely home.
Anyone who has read any of the other three books by Salt Lake resident Colleen Helme knows Nichols doesn't know how to say "No!" and mean it.
She's also amazingly lucky to not be dead.
She helps her mobster "friend" and then agrees to help some more even when it puts her in mortal danger.
The story is interesting if only to see if she gets out in one piece, especially after she agrees to play a high-stakes poker game with a known shark — and she's never played the game before.
It helps that she can read minds, but still it would take some really good luck and some natural knack to pull this off with a suspicious guy who's played for years against the best and the ruthless.
It's also quite the trick to have Nichols hanging around for nearly a week in fancy hotels and cars with a handsome, dark bodyguard who keeps saving her bacon and there's no physical involvement.
It's hard to believe her devoted lawyer husband, sent ahead with the kids and thus home alone for days, would not come right back and get her.
Nichols keeps her marital vows in the literal sense, but veers off into an emotional relationship that some might question.
There's "only" the necessary blood spilt and it's mostly "off-screen," but it's still a step into a world where men kill to keep order and bad guys do what they believe is necessary. The language is clean.
On the plus side, Nichols gets out of some dangerous situations with some nice clothes and she helps resolve some personal painful conflicts for her bodyguard.
Along the road, she's funny, upbeat and lighthearted.
It makes for kind of an entertaining, escapism-type story that kills time without any effort — if only to see how she does it.