Racial hatred rears its ugly and murderous head.
Coming off her first case (Dark River Rising, 2017), Baton Rouge police detective Wallace Hartman is in a relationship with former DEA administrator Mason Cunningham, and her widowed mother is being wooed by lawyer Davis McCone, a lifelong family friend. A call from her boss plunges Wallace into a case complex and nasty enough to kill her or change her life forever. Former pastor Herbert Marioneaux, a segregationist state senator, has been found brutally murdered in his home. Because he’s recently changed his views, he has a long list of enemies on both sides of the question of white supremacy. The best clue to his killer seems to be some hair found on his body that’s identified as that of Eddie Pitkin, who’s called for slave owners’ descendants to pay reparations. Arresting Eddie puts a target on Wallace’s back and strains her relationship with childhood friend Craig Stephens, Eddie’s younger half brother. Half the locals want Eddie executed; the other half claim he’s been framed. Wallace tries to be neutral as she works the case but secretly hopes to find an out for Eddie, who claims to have spent the weekend at Craig’s fishing camp. She finds a promising witness in Peter Ecclestone, a charming photographer who claims to have seen someone in Craig’s house. As she tracks down further leads, Wallace, physically threatened by someone who wants Eddie found guilty, realizes that there’s a leak in the police department, forcing her to withhold information from her superiors. As Wallace struggles with the case, white supremacists hold rallies taunting their opponents, and Wallace must rely on help from Mason, Davis, and a small-town sheriff she feels she can trust.
A worthy sequel with plenty of procedural detail and a shattering conclusion.