A first-class debut novel that tells the story of young lawyer Noah Richards, a widower who, having enjoyed a short, blissful marriage, now finds himself lost, at loose ends. He returns to his hometown of Springwell, Oregon, from California to settle in his now-dead father's law office; moves into his parents' old house; and goes, zombielike, through the motions of writing wills and contracts--until a visit from a black couple, Angel and Joseph Ambrose, changes his life. Their five-year-old son Jordan died in St. Mary's, the local hospital, two months before, on the operating table, and they're convinced that the doctors were criminally negligent. Angel wants revenge, not money, and as Noah starts to explore the grounds for a malpractice suit he begins to see why. Springwell, the quiet town Noah thought he knew, becomes a place of danger and menace as old friends turn their backs; the nurses who confide in him about the staff doctors' callous indifference now feel themselves threatened; and racism raises its head in an unexpected place, until arson and murder bring--perhaps--some kind of determination. Most readers will want to hear more from the quietly charismatic hero of this poignant, penetrating, suspenseful debut, written in a style both easy and elegant.