Abduction, murder, and scandal mar the beauty of cherry-blossom season in a small Montana town.
Detective Macy Greeley, a special investigator for the Department of Justice, is responding to a call from kidnap victim Philip Long when she accidentally hits him with her SUV. She doesn’t know that he’s just escaped his captors, and the pelting rain on her windshield prevents her from seeing him running toward her until it’s too late. Hanging upside down in her overturned vehicle, she watches in helpless horror as someone gets off a motorcycle and shoots Long with Macy’s gun. After her rescue, Macy cuts short her recuperation, entrusts her young son to her mother’s care, and returns to Walleye Junction to find Long’s killer. She knows that as a talk show host, he riled up a number of people, especially militia members. But when the bodies of Carla and Lloyd Spencer—both long-term addicts, both dead of a drug overdose—are found next to the van used to kidnap Long, their motive appears to be merely money to buy more drugs. Forensic evidence that the corpses were moved, however, suggests a third party with an even more sinister purpose. Long’s daughter, Emma, comes home to attend the funeral and look for an incriminating journal that only she knows her father kept. While Emma’s confronting painful events from her past and the realization that her father kept secrets even from her, Macy juggles work, motherhood, and a romance with a police chief. Emma’s love for her father and Macy’s determination to help Long in death, even if she couldn’t in life, bring them together over the big exposé he was working on and implications that go beyond Walleye’s borders. Even more than in Macy’s earlier cases (Burnt River, 2015, etc.), personal complications encumber not only the protagonist’s life, but also the story’s momentum—though her flaws do make her more real.
A dedicated detective and a grieving daughter find strength in teamwork in this bleak procedural.