In 1985, Los Angeles police detectives Art Becker and Rico
Chacon almost lose their lunch looking at the tortured
corpses of Dwayne and Lila Mae Summers. Not long afterward
they visit Lila Mae's adult daughter from her first
marriage, Ellen, a resident of the California Institute for
Women at Frontera. Ellen is stunned with the news knowing
she will receive her parole "freedom" tomorrow in time to
host a funeral.
Because of her trips to the prison to see Ellen, Rico
visits the reformed troublemaker turned automobile mechanic
and adopted mother Munch Mancini to obtain information on
who would want the innocent couple dead. Believing there
is a connection to Ellen, Munch investigates even as she
deals with a stalker who accuses her of stealing her life.
However, she finds evidence involving stolen loot connected
to Ellen that Munch hides from Rico though she is attracted
to the law enforcement official. This leads to someone
willing to murder children to gain what they believe is
theirs while coming after Munch.
The fifth Munch Mancini amateur sleuth tale is a great
novel because readers gain insight into the heroine's dark
past and current motivations. The story line of NO MAN
STANDING is action packed, but belongs to an impressive
cast who enables the audience to better understand Munch
while forwarding the who-done-it plot. The audience's
hearts will reach out to the preadolescent friend of
Munch's daughter who is caught in the crossfire of two
selfish adults. That sidebar augments the intense look at
the star though not critical to the prime theme. Fans of
amateur sleuth tales will enjoy munching on Barbara
Seranella's latest tale.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted April 2, 2002