Among the million visitors the little town of Galena, Illinois—the birthplace of U.S. Grant—attracts in a year are the attendees of a high school class reunion that seems to include a very determined killer.
Even though her department is limited to 12 officers, Police Chief Krista Larson loves her job, loves her father, retired Dubuque Chief of Detectives Keith Larson, and loves the friends she went to school with—loves one of them, reporter Jerry Ward, so much that until recently she let him live under her roof. The only classmate she’s not so crazy about is glamourpuss Astrid Lund, who, years after stealing Jerry from Krista and then tossing him away, like so many other men, landed a high-profile job as an investigative reporter for a Chicago TV station. Soon after the reunion opens at the Lake View Lodge, whose general manager, hunky classmate David Landry, has made it available to the 65 attendees, Astrid fulfills her destiny by getting stabbed to death. It doesn’t take long for Krista and Keith, working together, to link her murder to the stabbing of Sue Logan, another classmate, in faraway Clearwater, Florida, the summer before. Lots of people might have had a grudge against Astrid, but why would somebody kill Sue as well? Is there a larger pattern here? And will the killer strike again? Answering these questions requires the father-daughter team to put lots of routine questions to lots of unmemorable suspects and then to put some more—until it’s time for still another reunion, with the leading suspects gathered together once again in the hope that one of them will crack.
The result is a sedate thriller that reads less like Collins’ usual retro-pulp (Quarry’s Climax, 2017, etc.) and more like that of his wife, Barbara Collins. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.