A former CIA agent’s search for peace in her hometown is put on hold by a murder investigation.
Phoenix Smith was shot while undercover in Istanbul. Now, she’s returned to Missouri to stay with her next-door neighbor and lifelong friend Annalynn Keyser while cleaning her mother’s house before listing it. Annalynn’s husband, Sheriff Frederick "Boom" Keyser, has been found with a young Hispanic woman in a cheap motel in an apparent murder-suicide. But Annalynn is certain that her husband would never have cheated on her, and after taking a closer look at the quickly closed case, Phoenix admits that the deaths could have been staged. With Annalynn and another high school friend, music teacher Connie Diamante, she starts digging for new information. Annalynn manages to get herself appointed temporary sheriff so that she can see all the files the police have refused to share with her. Though not exactly a hands-on sheriff, Boom had apparently been looking into a meth operation and an influx of workers, both legal and illegal, supported by a local church. While she’s on a walk, Phoenix comes upon a Belgian Malinois that had been shot and left for dead. It turns out that the dog belonged to a missing DEA agent, upping the stakes and involving other agencies. Phoenix uses all her skills to help Annalynn and keep her and Connie alive in a high-risk investigation.
The first in Mulford’s planned series explores the unsettling rise of crime in rural areas and provides an amusing and touching look at the reunited gal pals.