Munch Mancini is a busy woman, what with her auto mechanic's job, her fledgling limo business, and single motherhood, but she hasn't forgotten her old friends: she's still close to Ellen Summers. Munch and Ellen were young and foolish together. They drank, they did drugs, they did other things they'd rather forget. But somewhere along the line, Munch went straight and Ellen went to prison.
Now, Ellen is about to be freed from the California Institution for Women. She'll have another chance to make a life. Or will she? Just a day before her release, her world falls apart when someone tortures and murders her mother and stepfather, Lila Mae and Dwayne Summers. Ellen may be the next target.
Ellen has something the killer wants, and she's not about to give it up. Alone and threatened, she flees to Munch. Munch wants to help, but is Ellen telling her the truth? Too much of Ellen's story doesn't make sense, and what if helping Ellen puts Munch's eight-year-old daughter, Asia, at risk? That's where friendship stops and motherhood takes over. Where Asia's concerned, Munch takes no chances.
Unwilling to confide completely in the police because the whole truth would send Ellen back to prison, Munch embarks on a mission to find the killer and to cut the best possible deal for her friend. Work, friendship, loyalty, motherhood, men, and even Munch's sobriety are all put to the test in the six harrowing days leading up to a heartbreaking showdown. Munch must ask herself some tough questions. If she comes through this one, she'll never take anything for granted again.
Besides her dealings with Ellen, Munch has some problems of her own. The jealous mother of one of Asia's playmates is stalking Munch, convinced she's stealing her husband. The woman could be dangerous. She can't be ignored. She's wrong about the husband, though. The chemistry is between Munch and Homicide Detective Rico Chacon, who's investigating the Summers murders. Munch hasn't felt this way about a man in a long time, but can she trust him?
With riveting action and one of the most unconventional and appealing heroines in all of crime fiction, No Man Standing is the best yet from a superbly gifted author.