An Ohio town is racked by violence in a clash of cultures.
New Austin, Ohio, seems much more like El Paso, Texas, as most of the growing population consists of Latino immigrants, many of them illegal, who put a strain on local resources. Tell Lyon is a former Border Patrol officer who has accepted the Chief of Police job in New Austin after his wife and daughter were murdered by Mexican drug dealers. He is immediately caught up in a case involving the rape and murder of an undocumented woman. The murder occurs in a spot that could be in his area or that of Sheriff Able Hawk, known as El Gavilan, or the brutal Vale County sheriff Walt Pierce, all of whom want the case. Hawk brings along reporter Shawn O’Hara, who quickly recognizes the badly beaten body by her tattoo. Since he had sex with her the night the body was found, he panics and keeps quiet, but when he is targeted for arrest by Pierce he is badly beaten by Latino gang members eager to avenge the death. Although Hawk is very tough on undocumented workers, he is also friendly with the Latino population, some of whom agree with his policies. Tell strikes up a tentative friendship with Hawk as some really shocking facts come to light about this murder and two more that fit the same pattern. Tell has developed a relationship with O’Hara’s former lover, a beautiful Latino woman, and they are both in mortal danger until the killings can be solved.
McDonald offers another gritty, violent mystery (One True Sentence, 2011, etc.) in this exploration of both sides of a divisive problem.