My Lost Daughter, by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg. Unabridged audio.
There are three interesting plot threads in this novel: An FBI agent tracking down a serial killer who preys on people who want to die via suicide pacts, a municipal judge with a secret she desparately wants to keep secret, and a mental hospital committing insurance fraud on a massive and dangerous scale.
Any of these threads could have made for a terrific read, and I wish this novel was more cohesive in pulling these threads together. Things just didn't hold together as well as I had hoped, as a fan of Rosenberg's prior works.
A strength of Rosenberg's novels is that she does not write about the glamorous side of the legal system, as many authors do. She does not focus on high-priced defense lawyers and Supreme Court judges, but her characters are more likely to be on the lower-end of the legal scale. The protagonist of this novel (and at least 3 prior novels) is Superior Court judge Lily Forester, a woman just barely making enough money to support her and her family in high-priced California. I don't Forester to be a likable character, but I like appreciate the way that Rosenberg has
There are a lot of flashbacks in this novel to Forester's prior appearances, to the point that I actually checked my records twice to see if I had read this book before. That "pulled me out" of the book a few times.
Not my favorite of Rosenberg's novels, but I expect I'll be reading the next one.