Albert Vernon came a long way to die--the ex-convict traveled from New York to Upper Michigan without anyone knowing he'd arrived--and even after he stopped breathing, he took a long time to emerge from the frozen depths of Blackwater Bay. Now Sheriff Matt Gabriel, suspecting that Vernon had been sent by New York crime boss Luca Ritto to kill Peter Murphy, a mob accountant turned informer, wonders if he'd found Murphy--or if Murphy had found him--before he died. Since the FBI won't say anything about whether Murphy was placed in the Witness Relocation Program--much less where he might've been put or what new identity he might've been given--Matt and his deputies find themselves looking under every rock for a newcomer somewhere between the ages of 25 to 40--and there are a lot of rocks in Blackwater Bay. As Frank Nixey, the alcoholic pensioner who first found Vemon's staring corpse, prepares a lawsuit against the Sheriff's Office for neglecting the case, there's a new wrinkle closer to home: Difficult homecoming queen Chrissie Falconer has disappeared. Did she also get too close to Peter Murphy? Gosling (A Few Dying Words, 1994, etc.) registers the pulse of her frigid hamlet with a sociologist's precision and detail: You'll never get a more authentic sense of how hard it is to conduct an investigation when even the smallest town teems with suspects.