This suspenseful mystery drops us into the Louisiana Bayou with a local oyster-poacher who’s about to blunder into the wrong place at the wrong time. From an explosive start it cuts to a business deal — at least, restoration expert Claire Marshall hopes it’s just a business deal. Her wealthy good-ol’-boy client has been making inappropriate moves. Now he’s stopped his check for the work she’s just done. When Claire tracks him down to find out what’s going on, she discovers he’s disappeared, leaving behind the startling news that they’re secretly engaged. That inspired variation on romantic cliche is just one of many twists and turns in “The Perfect Victim.” With its diverse and interesting characters, its roller-coaster plot, and its vivid depiction of pre-Katrina New Orleans (and beyond), this Epic Book Awards winner is a treat for mystery fans.