A fire chief and a sheriff on North Carolina’s Outer Banks combine their sleuthing talents and local knowledge to solve two murders.
The course of Fire Chief Colleen McCabe’s budding romance with Sheriff Bill Dorman would run a lot smoother if he weren’t so ambivalent about her sleuthing. The trouble begins this time when Colleen questions obnoxious local builder Denny Custis about several arsons, even though her real interest is a request by Myrtle Crepe, her former teacher, who thinks Denny’s bothering the wild horses who live on the Outer Banks. Just as Colleen’s leaving what’s turned into a nasty meeting, a neighbor’s screams announce the discovery of a body buried under the boardwalk, revealed by a recent storm that’s washed away the sand. The victim is identified as one of Denny’s workers who’d vanished, leaving people to think he’d gone to Mexico to see his sick mother. Before Colleen can question Denny, his body is found in the fire-ravaged beach house being built by his arch rival, Antonio “Pinky” Salvatore, a charmer whose flirting with Colleen doesn’t endear him to the sheriff. Fire investigator Morgan is convinced that this latest arson isn’t linked to a series of fires on the mainland. Since it’s hard to find anyone who liked Denny, Colleen and Bill have their hands full with various suspects—in addition to a feud between several animal protection groups and plans for the wedding of one of Colleen’s firefighters.
Fans will be pleased by the way O’Sullivan’s third (Foal Play, 2013, etc.) builds the relationship between characters, but the mystery is uninspiring.