dance on his grave
When SIDRA SMART, the fifty-year-old ex-wife of a fundamentalist preacher, inherits her brother’s detective agency, she finds herself drawn into a client’s violent past.  A lifetime spent on a pedestal before her husband’s congregation leaves Sid ill prepared to face the dark world of criminal investigation.  But when JEWELL STONE bursts in with vague flashbacks of a grisly 30-year-old murder committed by her father, ROY MANLY, Sid plunges into a surreal world where passion burns as hot as the memories of child abuse, arson and murder.  
As if murder isn’t enough to occupy Sid’s every waking thought, she must also deal with her own internal conflicts as she navigates from sanctuary to sewer.
Intrigued by Jewell’s memories, but clueless as to procedure, Sid visits veteran private investigator GEORGE LÉGER, and this Cajun-speaking, rot-gut drinking man soon enchants her.  After he offers to supervise Sid until she gains state licensure, she travels to the Caribbean in search of Jewell’s sister, EMMA BARFIELD, hoping she can refute the macabre memories.  Instead, Emma reinforces them, saying, “When my father dies, I swear, I will drink tequila and dance on his grave.”
Sid returns home convinced Manly, now a county commissioner, murdered a woman in the early 1970s and burned her remains in a house fire.  But Emma has added another memory to Jewell’s—when Emma was five-years-old, her father sold her body for pocket change. 
Soliciting the help of district attorney, BEN HILLERMAN, Sid and Ben search archived newspaper records.  They know they are onto something when they find an article about a farmhouse consumed by fire, and the remains of ETHEL ELAINE PERRY in the burned-out structure.  The date?  March 5, 1971. 
Ben attempts romance with Sid, but still caught in her own wounded past she keeps him at arms length. 
NANCY MANLY, Jewell and Emma’s mother is found smothered to death two days after Sid visits her.  Sid barely survives an attack on her own life when a truck rams her car off the road, plunging it into the Sabine River.  Now she must uncover the truth fast before the murderer catches her.  What she discovers smacks in the face of her beliefs about life, death, and life hereafter. 
Caught off-guard, Sid is knocked unconscious.  When she awakens she finds herself stripped naked, strung from rafters in an abandoned chicken hatchery.  Roy Manly stands leering up at her, knife in hand.  Sid must call on her deepest resources to prevent her own murder but death moves closer with every taunting swish of the blade.
Sid squelches her fear and delays the inevitable by playing into Roy’s chauvinistic ego.  When he steps briefly outside, she loosens the knot that suspends her, hobbles for the knife, and crouches behind the door.  Roy returns, spies the dangling rope, and spins around just in time to see Sid, knife in hand, lunging at him. 
At Roy’s grave, no minister says a prayer or sings a hymn.  Sad, Sid thinks, but the only song appropriate she decides is This One’s for the Girls.  Tears run down her face, not for Roy, but for Jewell and Emma, for Nancy and Ethel Elaine, for herself, and for all women everywhere.

Jewell and Emma, free for the first time in their lives, can breathe without looking over their shoulder. They can plan a future that doesn’t include fear. It’s too late for their mom, but maybe, just maybe, healing can now begin for them. When Emma steps onto her father’s grave with a bottle of tequila in her hand, her soul adds the music as she slowly begins a dance of healing.
As Sid says goodbye to Emma and Jewell, knowing they have their lives ahead of them, she wonders about her own future.  Her demons are still there, but perhaps in the helping of another, she has also helped heal her own wounds.
And then there’s Ben. 
Read A Review:

Sidra Smart is 51 years old and recently divorced from her preacher husband. When her brother dies in a motor vehicle accident, Sid, inherits his investigative firm, The Third Eye, in Orange, Texas. Sidra has no experience as an investigator and initially intends to sell the business but is intrigued by a young woman named Jewell, who claims her father murdered a woman 30 years before.  Although Jewell was three when it happened, her memories are so intense, Sid can’t help but wonder if they’re real. She questions Jewell’s sister, Emma, who corroborates much of what Jewell remembers. Emma and Jewell confide in Sid their father’s cruelty, and both, along with their mother, are suffering mental and emotional sequelae as a result of his abuse. Sid contacts the sheriff of Orange, Texas with the information Jewell has provided, and shortly thereafter, her life is threatened. This makes Sid more determined than ever to bring justice upon the man who has severely damaged so many lives. But someone is intent on stopping her.
Dance on his Grave is a strong start to the Third Eye series and is sure to develop a large reader base. Sid Smart is a compelling character; a woman who lived a sheltered life until she decided she wanted out of a controlling relationship and is now determined to start her life anew, despite antagonistic actions from members of her husband’s parsonage. A female baby-boomer as a private eye is a fresh addition to the mystery genre, even more appealing, one with intelligence and maturity. Sid’s Aunt Annie is a likeable, albeit quirky character, and Sid’s mentor George Leger lends a colorful Cajun ambience to the story. This well-written mystery falls under the category of page-turner and will keep the reader entertained throughout.
Christy Tillery French, Midwest Review