A lawyer who yearns for the quiet life proves a magnet for murder.
Alexa Williams left a high-powered New York practice to return to her home in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and join her brother in helming the firm of her retiring parents. Because of her expertise in sex trafficking (Dead of Summer, 2015), she’s serving as a co-chair on a committee in Harrisburg. When she meets with ambitious Senate staffer Keisha Washington at the capitol building, they’re horrified to witness the death of Sen. Martinelli, chair of the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. Martinelli either fell or was thrown into the rotunda just after the two women overheard some men arguing. Seriously stressed, Alexa retreats to her country cabin to cuddle with her English mastiff, Scout, and talk things out with her boyfriend, state trooper John Taylor. Originally ruled a suicide, Martinelli was deeply involved in a contentious new plan to allow hydraulic fracking on state-owned property. Alexa is plunged into the fracking debate when a college friend calls and asks her for advice on how to proceed with a lawsuit that will get her money to pay for the treatment of her young daughter’s cancer, which was almost certainly caused by spills from fracking on their farm. A visit to a fracking site in Tioga County horrifies Alexa, and a follow-up with charismatic state representative Walt Jordan allows her to appreciate both sides of the debate without changing her mind. Her attraction to Walt makes her see that as much as she likes him, John is not her soul mate. Alexa’s already been shot at, possibly because she was a witness to what now seems to be murder, but her life is about to get even worse.
Using current and recent news stories about fracking and Three Mile Island to make a case for her own causes, Knowlton hangs it all on a middling mystery/thriller/romance with a complex heroine.