A medical examiner fears she may be shielding a murderer when she conceals her best friend’s suicide.
Jennifer Liu risks her medical license when she reports her best friend’s death as an accident rather than suicide. But she’d promised Brianne Marston that she’d protect her secret if Brianne took her own life rather than face the slow and painful deterioration of Halstead’s disease. Now Jennifer’s having second thoughts. Another young victim appears in the morgue with the same cocktail of deadly drugs found in Brianne’s body. Did Nels Farrow, afflicted with the same genetic disease as Brianne, conspire with her in a suicide pact? Did they independently discover the same recipe for ending their lives prematurely? Or were they killed by a third party to save them from suffering or for some darker reason? Before she turns herself in to the authorities, Jennifer has to know the truth. So she asks another close friend, private detective Savannah Reid (Hide and Sneak, 2018, etc.), to examine the connection between Brianne and Nels. Savannah doesn’t mind; her husband Dirk Coulter’s refusal to let her in on his latest case for the San Carmelita Police Department has left her with time on her hands. But discovering the real Brianne Marston proves a challenge. No sooner has her boyfriend, Paul Oxley, described Brianne in her last days as paranoid and delusional than Brianne’s goat-keeper, Dee, reports that Brianne was highly centered and focused but abused and exploited by her good-for-nothing boyfriend. Struggling to untangle the riddle that was Brianne helps Savannah appreciate the complexities of living with a fatal illness, bring a killer to justice, and release Jennifer from the pain of self-doubt.
Her forays into medical issues lead McKevett to crowd the best pieces of her puzzle into the last chapters, but she still offers enough detection to satisfy fans of the Moonlight Magnolia franchise.