Why are the FBI and the CIA interested in a murder in a small Virginia town?
Only the fact that Picketsville Sheriff Ike Schwartz used to be a CIA agent allows him to identify the body dumped in the woods as that of former Russian spy Alexei Kamarov, whose driver’s license identifies him as Randall Harris, from nearby Buffalo Mountain. Given the ongoing FBI-CIA rivalry, Ike warns his computer-maven deputy Sam Ryder not to mention the body to her beau, FBI agent Karl Hedrick. That turns out to be easy when Karl quits communicating with her. As Ike’s top deputy, Whaite Billingsly, follows up local leads, Sam’s computer wizardry turns up a trail of ATM and credit card use which she finds is being tracked by unknown agencies—a puzzle, since only the CIA knows Kamarov is dead. Ike himself must juggle the baffling murder case, his love life with a local college president, his mother’s impending death and his suspicion that a local wheeler-dealer is a crook. When Whaite is killed in what looks like an accident on snowy roads, Ike kicks it up a gear and brings the convoluted case to a rousing conclusion.
The third in Ramsey’s series (Impulse, 2006, etc.) reveals still more of the improbable challenges that face a Jewish sheriff in a little Southern mountain town.