Beneath its bucolic veneer, life in Prophesy County, Oklahoma, is rife with problems, and middle-aged, newly remarried Sheriff Milt Kovak gets a lot of them (Dead Moon on the Rise, 1994, etc.). The wife of Emmett Hopkins, Longbranch's chief of police and Milt's good friend, has committed suicide, using her husband's gun. And over the next few months there are more suicides in Prophesymany more than the statistical norm. Milt tries hard to find a connecting link while he worries about his pregnant wife, Jean, a psychiatrist crippled by childhood polio. Meanwhile, Longbranch has become home to exWhite House TV reporter Libby Fortuna, also pregnant, who's now married to lawyer Daniel Gallagher and writing a book on her years in Washington. It's Milt who finds her murdered body in a car parked behind the Stop 'N Shop. There are connections to be made here, toowith Daniel's twin brother Phillip, a doctor who left town some years back in the wake of his own tragedy, and whose elusive trail is adding to Milt's woes. Attention-grabbing plot twists, vividly drawn characters, unsticky but heartfelt domestic episodes, credible solutions, and a hero who grows ever more simpatico: the best of the Kovak series to date.