A job involving threatening letters and e-mails lands private eye Harry Brock chest deep in alligator-infested waters.
Colleen McGraw, President of the Stoneman Douglas Alliance, wants Harry Brock (Two in the Churchyard Lie, 2007, etc.) to investigate a series of threats. When a biologist working with the group is found dead in the Okalatchee River, her fears prove justified. Like the biologist, the Okalatchee, poisoned by chemicals and fertilizer runoff, is dying. A loose coalition of river dwellers, property developers, agricultural interests and private property groups are fighting to keep the dismal information quiet. Harry acquires another problem when his daughter Sarah, whose parents’ bitter divorce and mother’s hostility have kept him from seeing her for years, arrives at his home on Bartram’s Hammock. Pregnant and planning to leave her husband, she seeks Harry’s support. Undeterred by violence, more killings and an attempt on Sarah’s life, Harry digs deep into the background of an old Southwestern Florida family with a vested interest in the river. The beauty of the Hammock, the calm of Harry’s wonderfully quirky neighbor Tucker LaBeau and his amusingly multitalented mule and coonhound soon work their magic on Sarah. But she and Harry must survive ever more determined attempts on their lives before she can conquer her own problems and Harry can wrap up the case.
Another tautly plotted and altogether delightful ode to Florida’s forgotten backcountry.