In this series opener, an emotionally vulnerable woman is drawn back to her hometown—right into the middle of a murder investigation.
Becca Kingsley left the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River years ago and is now a veterinary surgeon in New Jersey. She loves her work, and she loves her German shepherd, Romy, who rarely leaves her side. She even still loves her live-in boyfriend, Matt, a patent attorney, but he’s cheated on her one too many times. His latest lie prompts her to flee back to Portland, Pennsylvania, to her estranged father’s bedside. He’s dying of cancer, and while the gulf between them is wide—she’s never forgiven him for making her go to boarding school for her senior year of high school or the constant philandering that drove her mother away—she’s determined to find closure. When a man’s body is found in the river, shot, gutted, and field dressed like a deer, it hearkens back to a similar crime committed many years ago and to the dark deeds of the local biker club, the Scions. It leads law enforcement, including Pennsylvania State Police detective—and Becca’s first love—Parker Reed, to an enforcer for the Scions who has known Becca since she was a child. Then there was that man Becca saw near the river during her morning run right around the time of the murder. Unfortunately, he saw her too. The narrative toggles between Becca’s childhood and the current murder investigation, outlining Becca’s fraught relationship with her father, who was Portland’s former police chief, and the symbiotic hold the Scions have on the town. This is not a whodunit. The perpetrator is revealed immediately, and although the author tries, it’s tough to make him too sympathetic after committing such a heinous crime. Nonetheless, Katchur is an engaging writer who ably navigates the dynamics of small-town life and the darkness that lurks beneath the mundane.
Easily digestible, if not groundbreaking, suspense with a tense family drama at its core.