Pickard (The 27-Ingredient Chile Con Carne Murders, 1993, etc.) goes to the small city of Port Frederick, Mass., where police lieutenant Geoffery Bushfield and his wife, Jenny Cain, are visited by David Mayer, the volatile teenage son of Ron Mayer and Judy Baker, who accuses Geof of being his biological father. Months earlier, David's wheelchair-bound mother had been shot to death by her husband, who then killed himself. David is convinced they were murdered by someone else and persuades Geof to reopen the case, following up his visit with a series of vaguely threatening minor incidents. Geof concedes his paternity is possible, remembering a one-night stand with Judy. Her marriage to Ron, son of the prosperous, religious head of a family construction business, was interrupted by divorce and a brief, tumultuous marriage to no-good Dennis Clemmons, whose term in prison and abuse sent her back to Mayer. Clemmons, now incapacitated after a mysterious beating, still lives in town. He's one of the people Jenny talks to as she and Geof delve into the lives and strange religious practices of the Mayers and into Judy's unconventional upbringing. Shocking revelations abound as the old case is reshaped, a new killing must be solved, and Jenny and Geof's union is tested to the max in a freshly plotted, psychologically intriguing story.