When P.J. Benson gives a talk at a local library, she hopes to help others--especially the elderly--avoid scams and maybe garner up some good pr for her home-based CPA business. She certainly doesn't expect one elderly woman to hand her a briefcase and ask for help. Soon P.J. is drawn into a blackmail scheme and murder investigation. Within days the body count is rising, people are missing, and P.J. is a prime suspect.
To make matters worse, P.J.'s nemesis, Nora Wright, is out of jail and making threats, Detective Wade Kingsley is acting as if their romance is waning, and P.J. may have exposed her six-month-old Rhodesian Ridgeback, Baraka, to a deadly disease. Danger is never far away...as the crow flies.
At the start of Soule's middling second cozy featuring Zenith, Mich., accountant P.J. Benson (after 2007's The Crows), elderly Ida Delaney tries to hand a battered briefcase to P.J. after a talk the CPA gives at the town library about avoiding scams. P.J. reluctantly takes the briefcase, which belongs to Ida's nephew, Donald, and contains incriminating lab reports, maps, and soil samples that Donald, the addled Ida fears, was using to blackmail people. Later, Donald shows up at P.J.'s home, assaults her, and takes the briefcase. Despite the warnings of her boyfriend, Det. Sgt. Wade Kingsley of the Kalamazoo Sheriff's Department, P.J. can't resist digging deeper into a case that soon leads to murder. Given the unrealistic way characters react to violence, some readers may find it hard to take the heroine's perils seriously.