Murder troubles the peace of a California hobo jungle.
York, the blind hobo who’s lived so long by the side of West Wheaton’s railroad tracks that the townsfolk have named the place after him, is the unofficial mayor of Yorktown. Together with angry, paranoid Vietnam vet Sly and footloose young stud Denny, he keeps the place so orderly that the locals have never lodged the slightest complaint. All that changes when someone tosses a dying man off a passing train. No one in Yorktown killed him, of course. But once word gets out that the settlement’s latest resident is a corpse, not even sympathetic Sheriff Steve Goddard or Clover, the donut-shop clerk who’s made Denny her lover and his two friends her personal crusade, can persuade thick-witted Deputy Travis, slimy mayor Milo Grimes or the railroad’s bat-wielding thugs that York and his buddies are innocent—or that, innocent or not, they shouldn’t be driven off and the site bulldozed. As Susie Marie Grimes traipses from bed to bed, shredding what’s left of her husband’s reputation, Clover turns Nancy Drew, determined to identify the real killer before her friends pay the price. It isn’t long before she’s solved the mystery, but not the riddle of how to use her information to prevent a confrontation that can’t possibly end well.
Like her heroine, veteran Engstrom (The Northwoods Chronicles, 2008, etc.) is less interested in solving the crime than in bringing her shadow world to life, as she does with authority, compassion and grace.