A journalist suffering from severe depression after a double mastectomy moves to the desert country of Eastern Oregon, where she comes to terms with her vanished uncle.
Jeneva Leopold barely remembers her uncle Matthew, who had a falling out with her mother. But her dreams direct her to his abandoned cabin in Billie Creek, where she’s determined to heal her body and mind through simple living and strenuous exercise. Although she’s avoided getting involved with the area residents, they slowly intrude on her peaceful existence. Rancher Darla Steadman takes her riding; artifact-hunter Skipper Dooley camps nearby and befriends her; and a forest ranger orders her to vacate the cabin. But her real troubles begin when Reese Cotter shows her around his mining operation. Because Reese’s brother has run off, Neva takes in his dog. Soon she discovers the body of Reese’s helper Roy crushed in a slide, then watches helplessly as Reese is jailed for his murder. Neva’s visits to town involve her with some curious characters. Many think she’s searching for the gold they’re certain her uncle hid before he went missing. Despite Neva’s desire to maintain her Zen-like existence, she tries to find out more about her uncle. Unraveling the mystery reveals a gruesome crime and almost leads to her death.
Engaging characters, evocative descriptions of a little-known area and a masterful mystery makes Graves’s debut a riveting page-turner.