Despite the best efforts of her boss, Deputy Marty Hopkins (Deathwind, 2005, etc.) lands in the middle of an arson case that forces her to confront her own terrifying memories.
The closer the Nichols County Sheriff’s Department looks at Zill Corson’s death, the more cold-blooded it seems. Though the blaze that destroyed his hunting cabin ended his life, he was staked to a table with a machete and padlocked inside before his murderer lit the match. Clearly, this is no ordinary case, and both Zill’s best friend, ex-deputy Don Foley, and the new sheriff, Chuck Pierce, are convinced that Marty, who was interviewed on the scene by an Indianapolis reporter whose story was picked up by CNN, is intent on hogging the limelight. They couldn’t be more wrong. Marty’s sight of Zill’s burned corpse has reignited traumatic memories of her father, who died in 1975 when his car caught fire. But Zill’s murder has a more intimate connection to the deaths years since of two other men attacked with machetes and burned to death. When Brooklyn ADA Olivia Mann, the daughter of one of the earlier victims, arrives in town to connect the dots, she steers the case away from Marty’s dutiful round of questions and provokes a hyper-extended sequence on a narrow cliffside ledge of rock that’s a textbook example of how to build suspense.
A heartfelt, routine procedural capped by a virtuoso climax.