Author Meg Gardiner is the creator of the Edgar Award-winning Evan Delaney series, but she’s scored a big hit with a fascinating protagonist in her series featuring forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett.

Beckett consults for the San Francisco PD, performing psychological autopsies for cases where the authorities can’t establish whether a death was natural, accidental, suicide, or homicide. She analyzes the victims’ lives to discover why they died. These equivocal deaths challenge Becket professionally. A widow with a new lover, Beckett works with  staid SFPD lieutenant Amy Tang, has an unconventional sister and an eccentric neighbor who keeps a monkey as a pet. It all adds up to an interesting cadre’ of recurring characters in these books.

In The Liar’s Lullaby, has-been country-singer Tasia McFarland has seen her rocky life and erratic behavior chronicled in every tabloid. Her past includes a failed early marriage to an ambitious army officer who currently holds one of the nation’s highest offices–she’s the ex-wife of the current president of the United States.

After writing a politically-charged song, her star starts to rise yet again, and she mounts a spectacle-driven comeback tour. Suffice it to say all hell breaks loose when she’s lowered into the stadium on a zip line, helicopters flying overhead, firing her prop gun at the fireworks-filled stage, and is killed by a bullet to the neck before a shocked crowd of forty thousand–a crowd containing Beckett and her sister Tina.

Once involved in the case, Beckett finds the more questions as she pours over Tasia’s past, searching for answers.  A quick read with a fast pace and a hint of romance on the side.