Stoney Calhoun hasn’t recovered the memories he lost to a lightning strike seven years ago, but he’s acting more and more like the cop he suspects he once was.
A routine fishing trip to Maine’s Casco Bay with historian Paul Vecchio as client and Stonewall Jackson Calhoun as guide ends prematurely when they stop at Quarantine Island and discover the corpse of a man who’d been tortured, castrated and set on fire. At first, Stoney refuses Sheriff Marshall Dickman’s request for help. But he changes his mind after Kate Balaban, his bait-and-tackle partner and lover, tells him she’s going to break off their affair, which has gone on under the approving eye of her MS-stricken husband, Walter, and Vecchio is shot to death as he sits outside Stoney’s house. Questioning possible witnesses as doggedly as any pair of British coppers, the sheriff and his new deputy establish that Errol Watson, the Quarantine victim, was a convicted child molester who may not have been entirely undeserving of his horrifying fate. The State Police are convinced, reasonably enough, that the person who executed Watson was Franklin Dunbar, the father of his traumatized victim, who had concluded his court testimony by announcing that Watson should lose his masculinity and burn in hell. Stoney thinks differently.
More ambitious and densely plotted than Stoney’s heartfelt debut (Bitch Creek, 2004), but with the same unruffled sense of time and place.