Investigating an apparent suicide by overdose forces a former reporter to confront her own past.
When disgraced reporter Aloa Snow starts to dig into the death of Hayley Poole, she’s in it for the paycheck and not the mystery. The $15,000 promised her for fleshing out the story would go a long way to covering her debts, and her name’s been worthless in the reporting world ever since she fudged some facts rushing out a story while dealing with her mother’s death. If Aloa had another option to earn the cash, she’d take it, because she doesn’t want Michael Collins, the guy behind the dollars, to think he has any right to her time or attention. A long time ago, when they were still in school, tragedy struck Michael’s family, and Aloa’s dad insisted on taking Michael in and raising him alongside his daughter—which was all well and good until Michael took off one day without a word, breaking Aloa’s heart along with her father’s. Now Michael’s grown rich as a software developer, and his interest in this case simultaneously intrigues and angers Aloa, who’s developing her own relationship to the history surrounding Hayley. The dead woman was a professional adventure runner along with her boyfriend, Ethan, who was killed under mysterious circumstance six months before Hayley died. Aloa uncovers connections between Hayley’s life, a dietary supplement gone wrong, international terrorism, and other possible motives for murder, but given the drugs found in Hayley’s system, the cops are likely to write this off as an addict come to a bad end unless Aloa can unravel the truth.
Townsend’s debut is driven by brisk plotting with bursts of stylish prose. Her eye for sharp character details makes her one to watch.