A detective sweats to solve a murder as a killer storm bears down.
John Jordan—sheriff’s investigator, prison chaplain, recovering alcoholic, doting husband and father—(Bloodshed, 2019, etc.) is called to check on Andrew Irwin, a retired Catholic priest, after an anonymous tip claims he’s dead. Before he reaches Irwin’s former mission church, he receives a panicked call from Carla, the babysitter whose inability to cut ties with her addict father, who drops in at will, puts both Jordan’s daughters and her own son in danger. Finally arriving at the church, he finds Irwin dead and Mary, his beloved mastiff, missing. There are no signs of violence, but there’s a sweet-smelling plastic cross in Irwin’s mouth. The manager of a nearby hardware store who saw Irwin the day before looking dizzy and pale sent Levi, one of her employees, to walk him home. Irwin evidently died a painful death from drinking antifreeze, an odorless, sweet-tasting liquid easily masked in many drinks. Irwin was a quiet man who had few enemies, none of whom seemed to dislike him enough to kill him. But Jordan conscientiously looks into every possible suspect before the approach of Hurricane Michael sidelines his investigation. Before he can pack off his wife and children to her mother’s inland home, a hysterical Carla calls to tell him that while she slept, her father took all three children with him to check on his brother in Mexico Beach. Driving through unimaginably difficult conditions to the devastated beach town, Jordan enlists help from a pair of wannabe storm chaser twins who desert him just as he finds the girls. Feeling lucky to be alive, he returns to his ravaged town to ponder a murder that seems to have no motive.
A brutally realistic look at the devastation hurricanes cause neatly melded with a mystery that keeps you guessing.