A woman determined to atone and make a difference returns to her drug-plagued hometown.
Bell Elkins was born poor in Acker’s Gap, West Virginia, and her life has been through many phases (Fast Falls the Night, 2017, etc.). She married, became a lawyer and a mother and led a life of wealth, then divorced and returned home as a tough and determined prosecuting attorney. The revelation that her sister, Shirley, had terminal cancer, and moreover that she had spent years in prison for killing their abusive father while knowing that 10-year-old Bell was guilty of the crime, even if young Bell didn't realize it herself, sent Bell’s life into a tailspin. None of her family and friends can fathom why Bell insisted on serving her own prison term for her father’s murder when the powers that be would have been happy with a slap on the wrist considering all the mitigating circumstances. Now Bell is back in town trying to decide what to do with her life as she is no longer a lawyer. With the whole state ravaged by opioids, her first thought is to work to hold drug companies morally if not legally responsible, but then she becomes involved in the town's latest drug-related murder. Banker Brett Topping and his wife, Ellie, are at their wits' end trying to save their addicted son, Tyler. Rehab has failed numerous times, and now he's home and stealing their possessions to feed his habit. Ellie is so desperate that she's decided to kill Tyler, but before she can get up the nerve, her husband is shot dead in their driveway. Both Ellie and Tyler have alibis, and Tyler insists it was Deke Foley, the dealer he worked for, whom Brett had threatened to turn in to the police along with "dates, times, places, license plate numbers." The sheriff and prosecutor, desperately short-handed, hire both Bell and a paralyzed former deputy to help with this latest case. Old friends pitch in, and nasty secrets are revealed, but the big question is still why Bell insisted on going to prison.
Fans of this brilliant series will not be disappointed by the murder mystery or the big reveal of its heroine's motivation for trashing her life.