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9780060175436 In six previous books, Kathy Hogan Trocheck's Callahan Garrity series has risen to the apex of Southern suspense. Now the acclaimed sleuth's latest outing shows how amply she and her creator deserve their acclaim, as Callahan and the outrageous band of "girls" in her Atlanta cleaning crew set out during the Christmas rush to prove her no-account brother innocent of his ex-wife's murder. It's a few days before Christmas and Callahan thinks for once she has things under control. Her presents are all bought, her baking is almost done, and she's relaxing with a well-earned drink when her brother, Brian--missing for over ten years--strolls through the door, whistling off-key carols and lugging his two-year-old daughter, Maura, in his arms. Happy as she is to see her charming brother and her ever-more-charming niece, Callahan hasn't forgotten that Brian carries trouble wherever he goes. That's never been truer than now, for Brian reveals he's kidnapped Maura from his estranged wife, who's on the warpath and, of course, has the law on her side. When Brian's ex-wife is found dead in her spectacularly messy apartment, the law comes down on Brian big time. True to form, Brian disappears again, leaving Maura behind for Callahan to look after, and forcing her to clear his name without his help. For Callahan knows that although Brian is many things, he's no murderer. As the Christmas rush picks up, Callahan, her irascible mom, Edna, and a gaggle of House Mouse employees submerge themselves in the most dangerous undercurrents of Atlanta street life, and head for wherever else in the New South's yuletide their search for truth leads them. In true Trocheck tradition, Midnight Clear is heartwarming, chilling, and hilarious--a thoroughly up-to-date and irresistible Christmas tale.