As the lone detective in her small Mormon community, Abish "Abbie" Taylor must use her understanding of the faith she rejected when a religious leader is murdered.
Abbie has been living a life of luxury and privilege with her husband in New York City, but after his death, she returns home to Pleasant View, Utah. She takes a job as the small force's detective, assuming it will be an easy one given the area's predominantly Mormon, law-abiding makeup. But then a church leader is found dead, bearing wounds and wearing clothing that hint at a violent and bloody chapter of the church's past. As she and the promising young Officer Clarke investigate, Abbie realizes that many of the church's leaders are involved in actions that are less than legal, let alone moral. Even her own boss seems reluctant to fully investigate. Further complicating matters is Abbie's troubled past with her father, a man whose position as a respected church historian doesn't match up with his treatment of his own wife. The reader is given many, many passages about Mormon history and practices, yet key facts of the plot, such as those about Abbie's past career in law enforcement, are distributed sparingly. One wants to like Abbie, but Bartley's sluggish, predictable prose makes it hard to engage.
Although the book's setting and subject material give it potential, the lackluster style keeps this off the must-read list.