Suspicion and jealousy threaten veterinarian Rachel Goddard’s romance with Captain Tom Bridger.
Now that she’s moved to Mason County, Va., to escape the problems of her past (Disturbing of the Dead, 2007, etc.), Rachel is involved in a nasty murder spree that also has roots in bygone events. While treating the dog of celebrated cartoonist Ben Hern, a childhood friend, Rachel and her helper witness an unpleasant encounter between Ben and local newspaper owner Cam Taylor, who’s been badgering and threatening a number of people for money to help keep his paper afloat. On their way home, they come upon Taylor’s abandoned car and then his dead body in the woods. When Tom and another sheriff’s deputy go to inform Taylor’s wife Meredith, they find the house aflame and later discover a body in the ruins. The Taylors came to Mason County as antipoverty workers back in the 1960s, and Hern’s mother, who vanished after the crimes, was one of their group. The shooting of the Taylors’ nosy neighbor makes it clear that the killer plans to leave no witnesses. There are a number of likely candidates for the murders. Taylor’s daughter Lindsay, a former lover scheming to get Tom back, accuses Hern, driving a wedge between Tom and Rachel, whose efforts to protect her old friend almost set her up as the next victim.
Rachel’s third is a tense, well-written combination of mystery and romance that will keep readers guessing.