Prophesy County, Oklahoma, has a sudden spate of dangerous cases.
Sheriff Milt Kovak (Dark Waters, 2013, etc.) isn’t surprised to hear that Darrell Blanton has shot and killed his wife. The Blantons are none too smart—maybe because they always marry their cousins—and often in trouble. Milt has no trouble arresting Darrell, but things go south in a hurry when Darrell’s mother, Eunice, her son Earl, and her daughter Marge take over the suite at the Longbranch Inn, where Milt’s wife, psychiatrist Jean McDonnell, is hosting a bachelorette party, and threaten to kill the guests unless Darrell’s released. Their demand poses even bigger problems for Milt than you might expect. The hostages include Jean’s visitor Paula Carmichael, a college roommate she hasn’t seen for years. Paula was a brilliant, beautiful, promiscuous party animal who became a cardiac surgeon. Now she looks haggard, drinks too much and is unpleasantly snarky. An even more dire complication is that Darrell’s just been found dead in his cell, whether from natural or homicidal causes. Just to add to the excitement, a monster tornado nearly destroys the nearby town where Milt and Jean’s son is visiting his aunt. After Earl shoots Paula dead, Jean, who’d been annoyed with her old roommate’s attitude, resolves to find out what changed her life. The sleuthing duo have a lot to accomplish and not much time to find the answers.
Milt’s adventures often feature interesting characters and twisty plots. This one, though, crams in so much activity that the impact of any one storyline is lost.