A search for a pair of stone carvings stolen from Crow tribal lands in Montana leads Dr. Marion Ford and his pal Tomlinson to another round of wild and woolly adventures.
Although the Charmstones in question were stolen years ago, Duncan Fallsdown, who’s come to Sanibel Island to ask Tomlinson’s help in finding them, is suddenly in a hurry to show them to his aunt Rachel before her pancreatic cancer kills her. Because the signs point to Florida's Bone Valley, Tomlinson asks Doc Ford to get permission from wealthy Leland Albright, heir to his grandfather’s phosphate mines, to search for them there. No sooner has Doc caught a whiff of Albright’s dysfunctional family—his fashion model bride, Ava, the twin daughters she’s grown oddly close to, and Owen Hall, the stepson his second wife left him—than the trail of the Charmstones leads to the home of Finn Tovar, a notoriously violent relics collector who’s just died of a brain tumor. Doc unexpectedly recovers one of the carvings when he turns the tables on Deon Killip, a thief who’s hijacked his boat for a getaway, and finds it in his bag. Unfortunately, possession of the carving comes at a high price, since Quirt Reno, a psychotic biker with a bionic arm, is so determined to recover it for himself that he makes all sorts of wild threats, some of which he actually carries out.
In Doc’s 21st adventure (Night Moves, 2013, etc.), promising characters get submerged in a colorful treasure hunt whose participants are at odds in not-very-interesting ways. When Doc reveals the identity of the malefactor behind the psycho biker, readers realize it doesn’t much matter.