A scoop becomes an obituary.
Clair Powell, a reporter for the Fowler News and Record, had been working on a story about Cedar Ridge, the newest development in green housing, when she took her dog out for a midnight walk and was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Forensics indicate that the car swerved into her. Accident or murder? Hiring on to finish Clair’s interviews, freelancer Robyn Guthrie finds herself smack in the middle of a criminal investigation when many of the people involved with the Cedar Ridge project suddenly die or disappear. Joe Kendrick, whose wife Kat was Robyn’s nemesis in high school, dies in a prostitute’s arms. Glenn Patchen spends two days dodging Robyn’s request for an interview. And Carl Wellen, a soil engineer, vanishes. Meantime, Vrana, a former EPA agent now working as a private investigator, starts tailing Robyn, perhaps at the instigation of mobster Ed Leoni. Had Clair uncovered something so unsavory about Cedar Ridge that she had to be silenced? Only three units have been sold and only one family has moved in to date, but are they safe? Records indicate that before environmental laws kicked in, mob-run concerns were dumping toxic runoffs on the land now occupied by Cedar Ridge. Using stealth and the acting chops of Vrana and her boyfriend Mick, Robyn engineers a major sting that will recompense the new homeowners and swindle the mob.
A plucky heroine (Getting Sassy, 2010, etc.), her carping momma and her possibly permanent boyfriend, if they can resolve the kids/no kids issue, are more compelling than the environmental brouhaha. But that sting maneuver is top-drawer.