Who—or what—has been crushing people to death in small-town Cole Creek, North Carolina? An inqisitive mystery writer moves south to find out.
Ford Newcombe made a fortune on his first book, thanks to his quick-witted wife, Pat, whose death from cancer afterward wasn’t the first tragedy in her family. Her father had gone blind and her mother was killed by a drunk driver. Ford would sell his soul if he could rewrite the past . . . but he can’t. A few years later, Jackie, a sexy young spitfire from the South, becomes his assistant. They have a lot in common: both grew up in poverty, and she spent some of her childhood in Cole Creek with her daddy, though she never knew her momma, who disappeared. As they swap stories, Jackie tells him the local legend of a woman’s skeleton found under a stone wall, and Ford is intrigued. Pressing people under heaps of rocks was a centuries-old punishment for witches: Is there a devil in their midst? Are some of the inhabitants of Cole Creek able to speak to Old Scratch? And what does Jackie mean when she says she can “see” evil? Well, back to Jackie, as she runs into handsome stranger Russell Dunne, who hints that he knows something about the woman under the wall. But what could it be? Ford and Jackie discover that Abraham, patriarch of the Cole family, was crushed under a gravel truck. And Harriet Cole, killed in a car that careened down a mountain—and there are so many other strange deaths. So many subplots. Ford and Jackie seem to be falling in love, though the mysterious Russell Dunne is making eyes at her, too. And why is it that only she can see him?
Standard-issue Deveraux (The Mulberry Tree<\I>, etc.): multiplying complications, confusing cast of thousands, and rambling storyline.