The answer to a rural murder may lie in Afghanistan.
Deputy Sheriff Claire Watkins becomes acting sheriff when her boss has a heart attack. Things have been peaceful in Fort St. Antoine, Wis., but that all changes when the remains of a body are found in the replica of a Norwegian longboat burned on the shore in an autumn ritual. Claire’s daughter Meg, who is soon leaving for college, feels an instant attraction to a man she meets at the boat burning, little knowing that he will soon be a murder suspect. Claire calls in a forensic expert who uses dental records to identify the remains as those of Tammy Lee Johnson, whose fiance, Terry Whitman, has just reported her missing. Although Tammy Lee and Terry are scheduled to wed soon, Tammy Lee has been flirting with Andrew Stickler, her high school boyfriend and the new man Meg is dating. Andrew’s not only eight years older than Meg, he’s also a deputy working for her mother and a man who has issues to deal with from an incident in Afghanistan that almost got him killed. Both Andrew and Meg have some reservations about dating, but their strong sexual attraction overcomes their doubts. Although Claire likes her deputy, he still joins that jealous fiance on her suspect list, and she asks Meg to stop seeing him until the murder is solved. As Claire and her staff work to find the killer, Meg and Andrew find it impossible to keep apart, until another murder opens the investigation to new possibilities.
The latest from Logue (Maiden Rock, 2007, etc.) is a tense psychological mystery, compulsively readable, that may seem obvious but offers up some surprising twists.