A client’s chance encounter with a bone involves veterinarian Kate Turner in yet another murder case in the beautiful but apparently not so peaceful Hudson Valley town of Oak Falls.
Dr. Kate and her assistant, Mari, are visiting a new client, Jack, a malamute whose escape to run in the woods garnered a nasty wire cut and a bone Kate identifies as human. The police find the rest of the body in a woodland grave and identify it as that of Flynn Keegan, the high school golden boy everyone thought had left for California 20 years ago. Flynn’s dysfunctional family asks Kate, who has a reputation for finding killers (Unleashed, 2015, etc.), to thaw out this ice-cold case. In between attending a wedding of pot-bellied pigs and coaxing hamsters out of glass jars, Kate finds time to look into Flynn’s past, especially his dealings with his three best friends and several girls he was dating who still live in the area. She must also juggle her own romantic entanglements, since police officer Luke Gianetti has apparently gone back to Dina, his sometime high school sweetheart, and Kate’s long-distance love, anthropology professor Jeremy, comes to visit after his African dig is shut down. Luke is obviously jealous when Kate explores her relationship with Jeremy, who was a college boyfriend. Although Kate talks to Flynn’s besties and the two girls who fought over him in high school, each interview presents even more suspects. Convinced that the answer lies in those long-ago relationships, Kate continues to dig despite her slim chance of success.
Brady’s years of experience as a veterinarian supply plenty of amusing stories and helpful hints for animal owners while her complicated heroine investigates a tricky case.