Nothing could compel Sadie Cooper back to her hometown, back to the father she can't get along with and the best friend she betrayed--nothing but death. When her beloved neighbor and mentor dies, Sadie returns home in disgrace after humiliating herself in front of the nation. She intends to stop at home, pay her respects, and start anew somewhere else. But then the will is read, and Abby has left something unusual for Sadie in her will--a request to solve her murder.
Luke Sawyer has finally put his life back on track; he's finally put his old best friend, Sadie Cooper, out of his mind. And then she comes in like a hurricane to rip his careful life apart again. She won't give up her ridiculous quest to solve a murder that doesn't exist, and she won't stay out of Luke's head. The fastest way to get her out of town is to help her figure out what happened to Abby, but the only way to do that is to get close to her again.
Together, Sadie and Luke must team up to figure out what's going on. They'll get closer than they ever wanted to be to each other, and closer to a killer than they know.
A nice combination of romance and suspense, Sadie Cooper is determined that her mentor, Aunt Abby, was murdered. But that's not the way Luke Sawyer sees it. Her determination can get her in trouble and her failings are readily pointed out by her father. There's also the complicated relationship that she and Luke had and his determination not to have his heart broken again.
This is the first in this series with well-developed characters and plot. SLUMBERED TO DEATH is the second, followed by SALVAGED TO DEATH.
Vanessa Gray Bartal is also the author of the Lacy Steele Mysteries and I would recommend them as well.