An accountant risks her life as she works to protect an area of great beauty.
Nora Abbott is river rafting with her boyfriend, Cole, when her mother, Abigail, calls to tell her that her best friend, Lisa, is dead. Nora, who works for Loving Earth Trust, had gotten Lisa a grant to make a film that would probably sway Congress to vote for an expansion of Canyonlands National Park—an idea that’s not popular with the local, mostly Mormon, ranchers, though local Congressman Darrell Burke backs it. Arriving in Moab for the funeral, Nora soon realizes that Lisa’s partner, Rachel, a Mormon whose community has shunned her for her lesbian relationship, blames her for Lisa’s death, a death Nora thinks was murder. Nora and Abigail are almost killed when the brakes on Lisa’s jeep mysteriously fail. To add to Nora’s stress, Cole is called away to his parents’ ranch in Wyoming, and when she phones him, a woman on the line identifies herself as Cole’s wife. One of the several people who have threatened Nora is the nephew of billionaire Mormon businessman Warren Evans, whose plans for the area are all tied up with Hopi legend. Nora struggles to discover who killed Lisa before she becomes the next victim.
Nora’s third (Broken Trust, 2014, etc.) is filled with enough plotlines for several more installments. The heroine’s decisions are annoyingly bad for such an allegedly intelligent woman, but the denouement still packs a punch.