A folksy New Hampshire town’s one straight-laced former citizen can’t dodge the murder charge someone’s trying to pin on her.
It’s been a long time since Erica Bloom has returned to her hometown of Otter Lake—maybe since the very night she left. She didn't really mean to stay away; it's just that her life as Chicago Erica, the stenographer, has been so much more normal than her childhood growing up the daughter of the town’s only hippie: Summer, owner of the women’s retreat center Earth, Moon, and Stars. But her mother has demanded that Erica return to help with something she refuses to discuss over the phone. When Erica arrives and hears her mother’s plans to pass Erica off as the retreat’s resident psychologist, she wants to send her mother in for counseling, since one course does not a doctorate make. As if that’s not bad enough, Erica keeps having run-ins with Grady Forrester, the boy-turned-man who ran her out of town after a clothes-stealing skinny-dipping incident. Maybe she’s having the run-ins with Grady just because he’s the local sheriff and Erica is the prime suspect in his newest murder case, but she’d rather think it’s because he finds her irresistible, not just suspicious. Among the nutty characters Wallace (Sidekick Returns, 2015, etc.) presents, the big charmer is Grady’s partner, Rhonda, whose questioning of Erica always leads to the same question: why can’t they be friends?
Time spent with the folks in Otter Lake is well worthwhile, with writing that is witty, contemporary, and winning.