Traumatized by a recent life-or-death investigation, Sharon McCone flees to her ranch in California's high desert country to contemplate her future. Deep depression shadows her days and nights, and a chance encounter with a troubled, highly secretive Native American woman begins to haunt her dreams. Even though she is determined not to investigate anything during her stay -- and perhaps not ever again -- McCone is drawn into the plight of the young woman and her dysfunctional family. A murder and traces of violence at a deserted resort lead her across the desert and into Nevada, and finally to a remote and isolated ranch, where danger lies closer that she expects and where her future and life itself may hang in the balance.
After the travails of The Ever-Running Man (2007), Sharon McCone retreats to her high desert ranch near Yosemite in MWA Grand Master Muller's fine 26th novel to feature the San Francisco PI. Depressed, bored and uncertain about her future in a dangerous business, McCone is unwittingly drawn into a local case the murder of Hayley Perez, the estranged niece of ranch manager Ramon Perez, and the disappearance of Hayley's teenage sister, Amy, and their alcoholic mother, Miri. As she looks into the Perezes' relationships, McCone uncovers secrets that hint at more than simply family dysfunction. Two more murders and a suicide add to the confusion, which McCone can only untangle, with the help of her husband and her Shoshone birth relatives, by tracing the victims' complex past. By the upbeat ending, McCone has learned that with judicious use of both her investigative and executive skills she can reshape her life.