It’s hard to enjoy the Fourth of July celebrations in your lovely Maine community when you’re the target of a psychopath bent on making you pay for your past misdeeds.
Happily remarried, Jacobia Tiptree spends her time working on her huge old house. The house isn’t haunted, but her past is. Back when Jake was married to a wealthy, unfaithful New York brain surgeon, she managed money for some unsavory people. After she refused a loan to an addicted gambler on the fringes of the mob and he was unable to pay, he vanished. Now his son wants revenge. Jake takes the threatening notes in stride; it’s not until people start dying that she and her family and friends really take notice. Her son, who’s cleaned up his act and moved back in with her, becomes part of the team searching for the putative killer. The town is so densely packed with holiday visitors that it’s hard to find a young man who wants to stay hidden and whose only noticeable feature is protruding ears. Jake is forced to play cat and mouse with a killer whose mental state continues to deteriorate.
Although the cozy, down-home Maine feeling is there, the breathless ending can’t make up for the lack of suspense fans expect from the best of Graves’ Home Repair series (Crawlspace, 2009, etc.).