Small-town shenanigans in the Appalachians pit a waitress against a furtive murderer and an even deadlier foe.
As day dawns in Glade Hill, Va., Daisy Hale McGovern is nagging Hank Fitz, owner of the H & P Diner, to choose a daily breakfast special. Rick and Bobby Balsam are taking a break from drinking home brew and shooting squirrels to flirt with Daisy. Then, local recluse Fred Dickerson staggers into the diner, orders a burger, foams at the mouth and dies. When rumors start circulating that someone—possibly Hank—poisoned Dickerson, Daisy wants to help Hank, who gave her a job after she lost her father, Paul (the P in H & P). She braves the Balsam brothers’ two-man trailer park, their shotguns and their dog pack and searches an old tobacco barn on her former homestead, which now belongs to Rick. Much as she resents him for buying up the property behind her back, she’s even more hostile toward ATF Special Agent Ethan Kinney when he arrives to investigate Dickerson’s death. A second death throws Daisy in with Kinney, and they work together to solve the mysteries of a pink canning-jar lid, a nighttime intruder, a place called Chalk Level and a threat to the enjoyably colorful citizenry of Glade Hill. Daisy is both strong and vulnerable, and you want her to be happy—but with whom?
Miller’s debut uses a light touch and a gift for scene painting in its skillful balance of people and puzzle.