Morgan’s third outing brings a return visit from lawyer Noah Richards. Since his debut (Willful Neglect, 1997), Noah has left his hometown of Springwell, Oregon, and is renting an oceanfront house on Edward’s Bay, a short ferry ride from Seattle, where he’s formed a legal partnership with Charlie Forsyth. The house Noah’s renting is one of several newly built by his old friend Bigs Harrison, who’s also fighting efforts by the Quanda, a local Indian tribe, to assert their rights to a share of the island’s oyster beds and fishing grounds. By chance, Noah meets Quanda law student Jay Bishop and agrees to study the deeds and other materials that may prove the tribe’s claim. Days later, Noah is shocked to find Jay’s body on the beach near his house, shot to death. Once he’s involved in a murder, it’s the logical time for Noah’s romance to heat up; but his tentative affair with next-door neighbor Sarah McKenzie, whose husband is more interested in climbing Mount Everest than in helping take care of their baby, is going nowhere. What to do? A day of fishing aboard the boat of Jay’s friend Wayne Richards seems a welcome respite. Though it turns out to be a nearly fatal expedition, its aftermath pinpoints Jay’s killer.
Noah continues to be a likable and believable hero—prone to human error and misgivings—as Morgan avoids hackneyed plotting: an entry that’s original and thoroughly diverting.