An archaeologist picks up an unexpectedly mysterious job on a visit to her father-in-law.
Faye Longchamp-Mantooth and her husband, Joe (Isolation, 2015, etc.), have flown to Oklahoma at the request of Joe’s ex-con father, Sly, who’s finally ready to do something with the ashes of the wife who died years before. Faye and her new client, Dr. Carson Callahan, are working at the site of what is possibly a very old Native American village. The Muscogee Nation is paying for the work in hopes of discovering a touristworthy attraction on tribal land. Faye, Carson, and Kenny, one of the workers, are shot at before work even begins. Police Chief Roy Cloud arrives to investigate, but even the K-9 dog finds nothing. When they finally get to open the site, which had been closed since the mysterious disappearance of Dr. Sophia Townsend in 1987, the first thing they discover is human remains. Oddly, the crew on the new dig consists of the same local residents as on the earlier one: Emily, Kenny, and Mickey, but not Sly, who had only worked there a few weeks. Close to the body, identified as the missing Sophia Townsend by a necklace she always wore, are some pearls and what appears to be a rare figurine. When the deputy left to guard the site is shot dead and the artifacts are stolen, Chief Cloud hires Faye as a consultant. Sophia’s notebooks, still in Carson’s possession, reveal a woman with a powerful sexual magnetism who is often nasty to her crew, all of whom are attracted to her. Much to Joe’s dismay, Faye gets more deeply involved when Sly becomes one of the suspects. She resolves to find out what happened to Sophia all those years ago and how it’s related to the recent crimes.
Evans’ signature archaeological lore adds even more interest to this tale of love, hate, and greed.