Always on the alert for material, true-crime writer T.S.W. Sheridan (All the Dead Heroes, 1992, etc.) goes into overdrive when he hears two Adirondack sages talking about the smoke coming from Glenny Oldham's cabin. It's been three years since Oldham, a photojournalist active in the Earthmothers, fell from Indian Overlook only a few months after her ex-husband, Robertson Tilly, had vanished from under a federal warrant against him and his even more radical environmental group, the Marsh Rats. Despite some pesky loose ends (why was Oldham pumped up on a designer amphetamine? what happened to the .32 revolver she was carrying?), the local police, who stonewall Sheridan without even breaking stride, are clearly satisfied that the disappearance isn't connected to Oldham's ``accident''—even though Larry Podolak, the laid-off miner who'd threatened Oldham a few days before she was killed, has never officially denied killing her. But Sheridan's inquiries bring Podolak out of the woodwork; and then, a few days before Podolak's to come to trial for the assault, somebody pumps three rounds into him—with Oldham's missing .32. Lots of promising mysteries, but Sheridan, who's busy juggling old and new loves, doesn't shine as a detective: Too many clues just happen to fall on him from above, and the untidy solution, involving multiple malefactors on both sides of the environmental debate, will leave you sadder rather than wiser.
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