A private eye’s latest case leaves her without a memory and wondering what secrets someone would harm her to try to protect.
An injured woman gropes her way through the woods seeking help. Hart soon reveals that this battered woman is none other than Jane Lawless (The Old Deep and Dark, 2014, etc.), who’s been beaten to the point of partial amnesia. Her loss of memory is so profound that even reuniting with her oldest friend, the dramatic Cordelia, barely strikes a chord with Jane. The amnesia also creates the possibility of a reunion between Jane and her ex, since Jane can’t remember the circumstances of their breakup—though if she did, she wouldn’t be considering reconciliation. Cue a long flashback that looks in on Jane weeks prior to her vicious beating. It all has something to do with Jane’s latest case in her role as a PI (her other gig as a restaurant owner wouldn’t bring her this sort of trouble). Jane had promised to help her desperate friend Guthrie Hewitt with a little pro bono work. His girlfriend, Kira Adler, has had recurrent nightmares since childhood of her mother’s murder even though the family has always been clear that Delia’s death was an accident. When Kira returns to her familial home, Guthrie gets strange calls from her essentially ending their contact and an anonymous warning suggesting that Kira’s nightmares could have been real. Jane can’t turn down work in support of true love, but boy, does she get in over her head with the Adler family secrets.
The present/past/present structure works to make a fairly standard plot into something more mysterious. And the newly playful way Hart fleshes out familiar characters could help hook readers just coming to the series.