Sleuthing Connecticut realtor Ben Abbott (Stonedust, 1995, etc.) swings into action when Newbury’s greediest developer is killed by a bulldozer.
For the cops, the murder investigation couldn’t be more open and shut. When you find a corpse under a piece of heavy construction equipment, you arrest the man in the driver’s seat, in this case tree-hugging activist Jeffrey Kimball, who, as a bonus, had every reason to hate Billy Tiller. Jeffrey’s father, a hip-hop entrepreneur, has never been close to his son, but he doesn’t want to see him spend the rest of his life in prison, a fate Jeff, driven by a messianic complex, seems at least intermittently to embrace. So he hires hotshot attorney Ira Levy, who hires Ben to sow the seeds of reasonable doubt. It ought to be an easy job, since Billy was cordially disliked by an improbably large number of suspects who admit they could drive a bulldozer. But Ben isn’t content with the strategy Bruce Kimball has mandated. Increasingly convinced the boy is innocent, he wants to find the actual killer, and he doesn’t care how many influential citizens, from a cuckolded husband to a corrupt judge to the client’s father, he has to confront before he shakes loose a lead.
The plotting is plodding, and despite his tasty title, Scott brings no new urgency to the clash of environmentalists and developers. But he does give you a real sense of the ambivalent individuals behind the issues.