Certainly not the best in the series. It takes Maggie away from her "group" by placing her alone in Nebraska and then the entire story wraps up neatly and horribly far-fetched with Nebraska and Washington DS food tainting being connected. It has its thrills, but watch out for the over the top crazy ending.
I like Alex Kava's Maggie O'Dell series. I like the fact that the books are set at various locations around the country and NOT ones that are commonly used by other novelists. (This one is largely set in western Nebraska, for example.) I like the fact that the heroes while likeable have their flaws, and the bad guys have some redeeming social qualities not enough to actually be considered redeemable, mind you, but enough to provide some color to characters and organizations that many lesser writers would paint in black and white.
However, after reading a few (or listening to them read to me in audio book format), I find that "mystery" is a misnomer. I can usually determine who the culprit(s) is/are well before the end of the book, and any "surprise" is either in the "how" it is determined or because I missed out on additional members of what turned out to be a conspiracy.
Hotwire is no exception. Teenagers at a clandestine outdoor party in western Nebraska are electrocuted. School kids in Norfolk are sickened after eating their school lunch. WHAT is going on? Is there a connection? (Readers of this genre will, of course, anticipate that they MUST be, or they wouldn't be occurring in the same book!)
I treat the Maggie O'Dell series like popcorn. Enjoyable, but not filling. A quick snack, which I could certainly skip, but won't because I find it enjoyable.
RATING: 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 stars.