Plans to build a resort in rural Virginia start an uncivil war.
Many of the locals see the new resort as Mason County’s chance for much needed jobs, even if they’re minimum wage with no benefits. Since some of the people whose land is required dream happily of a big payoff while others adamantly refuse to sell, it’s neighbor against neighbor. Veterinarian Rachel Goddard tries to walk a fine line, since her husband, Sheriff Tom Bridger, must remain impartial, but the developers’ smug arrogance drives her to speak her mind. When a couple who refuse to sell are found shot, Tom and Rachel have to wonder if their deaths were intended to move the land deal along. But they’re confounded by the murder of a woman who’d planned to sell her place. The murdered couple’s children start a war of their own when the son, who’s deeply in debt, learns that his sister is getting three-fourths of the assets. After Rachel’s friend Joanna McKendrick, a vocal opponent of the scheme, loses her barn to arson, Tom learns that many people on both sides of the issue have been getting threatening letters and suffering petty vandalism. Three sisters who haven’t made up their minds are in constant fear. Tom warns them and all the anti-resort forces to be extra careful, since he and his deputies have their hands full with violent demonstrations. Though she worries about threats from Tom’s job, Rachel can’t sit on the sidelines, especially once their nephew is threatened. But it won’t be easy to find out if the murders stem from the fight over the resort or from a much more personal motive.
Parshall (Bleeding Through, 2012, etc.) expertly maintains the tension between warring factions until the surprising conclusion.