It’s morning and the first winter snow falls heavily in the forested hills outside of Collier. An ambulance screams up the icy roads of a lonely neighbourhood startling the black crows that stand watch in the trees. Unsure of what they’ll find, two paramedics struggle to carry their heavy cases up the slope behind an isolated home. A cast-off shoe and a red stain seeping up through the snow. At first that’s all the paramedics see.
It’s high summer and the drought stricken state of Montana is in the grip of a heat wave. Wilmington Creek, a sleepy ranching community in the northern Flathead Valley, has been especially hard hit. A series of wildfires has pushed the area’s resources to the limit. Darby Lake’s water level has dropped to a record low and a group of childhood friends are increasingly anxious about what may be uncovered if the rains don’t return to the valley soon.
When outspoken radio talk show host Philip Long is kidnapped and murdered, Detective Macy Greeley leaves her young son in the care of her mother and heads up to remote Walleye Junction, Montana to take charge of the investigation. It is initially believed that Long’s murder is the result of a controversial radio show he’s done on the rise of far right militias in the state. Within days the two kidnappers are found dead following a massive heroin overdose, and the authorities are hopeful the investigation is finished.
Grace Adams has spent three years trying to move on—mentally, physically, emotionally—from the traumatizing events of in her past. But it’s not easy when the world is morbidly curious about the crimes that shaped her childhood, when despite her changed name, people still track her down for the sensational details. Now in college in Bolton, Montana, the one person Grace has trusted with the truth about her past has betrayed her.
“This complicated, peel-away-layers debut procedural intoxicates from the opening page and has word-of-mouth selling power… Recommend for fans of Archer Mayor, Gwen Florio, and Craig Johnson. C.J. Box’s The Highway comes to mind, too ”
Library Journal (starred review, Debut of the Month)