She was just 17, a high school dropout named Milly Jones, found walking down the middle of the highway, engulfed in flames. Even in a tough Mississippi county like Tibbehah, it shatters the community, and it is up to Sheriff Quinn Colson, back on the job after a year away, and his deputy Lillie Virgil, to investigate what happened, and why. Before long, however, accusations start to fly; national media and federal authorities descend; and what seemed like a senseless act of violence begins to appear like something even more disturbing - with more victims waiting in the shadows.
Bestseller Atkins's disappointing sixth Quinn Colson novel (after 2015's The Redeemers) lacks the thoughtfulness and excitement of earlier installments. After Quinn served his country for a decade as an Army Ranger, he returned home to Jericho, Miss., to serve as the sheriff of Tibbehah County. When he was voted out of office, Quinn went to Afghanistan, where he helped train the local police force. With that assignment complete, he finds himself at loose ends both professionally and personally back in Jericho. For starters, he has work to do on his relationships with his estranged father, a retired Hollywood stuntman, and his significant other, who's married to someone else. The pace picks up when Quinn joins his successor as sheriff, Lillie Virgil, in investigating a horrendous crime in which a woman was set on fire. But what develops into an intriguing murder case is weakened by underdeveloped characters who consist mostly of types, such as the creepy football coach and the wholesome cheerleader who becomes a stripper out of desperation.