A woman’s determination to keep a promise puts her in a killer’s cross hairs.
Ten years ago, Lucie Montgomery’s boyfriend, speeding down a country road, smashed his car into a pillar, leaving Lucie badly injured. Now engaged to winemaker Quinn Santori, Lucie runs a winery on her family’s Virginia estate. In a horrible moment of déjà vu, Lucie’s run off the road by her friend Jamison Vaughn, who crashes into the same pillar that almost took her life. As she struggles to get him out of the car, he says, “Tell Rick I need him to forgive me.” Her former lover Mick Dunne drags her away just as the car bursts into flames. Lucie thinks Jamie, who’d just lost an election for U.S. president, deliberately drove into the pillar, and she’s determined to find Rick—whoever he is—and pass on the message. The only other clue is a medical alert bracelet Lucie stuffed in her pocket after Jamie dropped it. Jamie’s wife, Elena, insists that Lucie let the family handle the press, which is hounding Lucie for more details. Depressed after losing the election and burdened by huge debts, it seems plausible enough that Jamie was suicidal, but the family is determined to get an accident verdict. In order to shut Lucie up, they give her expensive tickets for a dinner entitling her to a taste of a rare, old, locally produced wine. Meanwhile, Jamie’s daughter Sasha, whom Lucie’s brother is dating, suggests she go see her mother, Vanessa Pensiero, Jamie's ex-wife, who may know about Rick and the bracelet. The tale she tells goes back to college days when Vanessa, Jamie, Mick, Elena, and a professor were all briefly involved in the murder investigation of one of their friends. Although Taurique Youngblood was convicted and is still on death row, he may be innocent, as Lucie, against her friends' wishes, resolves to prove.
Crosby (The Champagne Conspiracy, 2016, etc.) continues to explore the privileged world of the Virginia hunt country with a fine mystery, solid characterization, and a shocking finale.