His hand trapped in the door of a speeding car, a man struggles to remain upright as he's dragged along a deserted stretch of mountain road. It's the perfect place to drive a man to his grave - literally. Starting with a crime so gruesome even prowling coyotes keep their distance, a killer begins crisscrossing the southern states on a spree of grisly murders.
A hundred miles away, Ali Reynolds is grieving. The newscasting job she once delighted in is gone and so is the philandering husband she loved and thought she knew. When a member of the family who gave Ali a generous scholarship for her education decades earlier suddenly requests a meeting, Ali wonders what it can mean. But before she can satisfy her curiosity, she receives another startling call: a friend's teenage daughter has disappeared. Ali offers to help but, in doing so, she unknowingly begins a quest that will reveal a deadly ring of secrets, at the centre of which stand two undiscriminating killers.
Jance keeps former L.A. TV news anchor Ali Reynolds in her native Arizona for her third lead appearance (following Web of Evil). Ali, still recovering from the murder of her not-quite-ex-husband, is aided by her parents and her old high school chum, newly divorced detective and marine reservist Dave Holman. Meanwhile, wealthy, reclusive Arabella Ashcroft, whose family's college scholarship program supported Ali as an undergrad, has read Ali's grief-filled blog, cutlooseblog.com, and wants Ali's help in writing an incest memoir: elderly Arabella says that her childhood was despoiled by a late stepbrother, Bill, and that she's being threatened by his son should she go through with writing about it. Soon after, Dave's daughter Crystal disappears from the Las Vegas home of his ex- and her new husband; Dave seeks Ali's counsel before barreling out there. Jance crowds the book with subplots, and her characters air a lot of opinions about sexual abuse and health care. But sparks between Ali and Dave and an upbeat ending keep this latest Ali outing on track.