Family matters prompt Deborah Knott to sidestep the law.
Candace Bradshaw, a Colleton County commissioner who may have been taking kickbacks, has tied a plastic bag over her head and left a suicide note implying that she used her position to enrich herself and her business, Bradshaw Management, a janitorial supply outfit that staffed most of the area’s cleaning needs. Her ex and her daughter don’t believe it, though, and forensics prove them right. The motive for her murder may hinge on what’s in her computer files, but the flash drive that will open them is missing. Judge Deborah Knott is as anxious as anyone to find it because there’s every indication the files will pinpoint what crusading newspaper editor Linsey Thomas, a hit-and-run victim, had uncovered, including a past alliance between Deborah’s daddy, bootlegger Kezzie and mover and shaker G. Hooks Talbert. Oddly, old Kezzie and Talbert, who have avoided each other for years, have seemed oddly chummy lately. Even odder, Kezzie is palling around with hell-and-damnation preacher Faison McKinney. So when Deborah does happen upon that flash drive, instead of handing it over to her husband, Deputy Sheriff Dwight Bryant, she pockets it, an unwise move that almost results in her incineration.
Not the sturdiest of Maron’s plots (Hard Row, 2007, etc.), but Kezzie devotees will find much to admire as he out-scams a scammer.