Lark Dodge flies to Ireland to keep an eye on her convalescent father and reflect on her own marital storms, but her time-out ends before it can begin when she finds a dead man on the castle-like estate where she and her father are staying. The body is that of an unpopular American businessman with a passion for war games played out in a nearby woods. Tensions explode when another murder takes Lark into secrets of the human heart--and the gruesome atrocities the heart is capable of. Her husband’s unexpected arrival--flying to the rescue--drives Lark and Jay further apart. Then Jay vanishes, and so does the chief suspect in the two murders.
Armchair detectives will share a seat with armchair tourists in Simonson's fifth in the series (after Meadowlark) as PacificNorthwest resident Lark Dodge and her father, a university professor, travel to Ireland. The change of scenery turns dangerous when Lark stumbles across the body of an American who was addicted to war games and recruited local high-school boys to participate. Lark learns that Slade Wheeler had been the business manager of her landlord's software company and had a local girlfriend who was pregnant. The police suspect his killer is a teenager who argued with Wheeler and is now missing, along with his father. Complicating Lark's life is the arrival of her husband, Jay, a college instructor and former cop. Since she went to Ireland to think about their relationship, she is annoyed when he turns up to protect her. But then Wheeler's nearest relative, a sister, is murdered, proving the teen innocent, and Jay is kidnapped after a newspaper article says he is helping with the investigation. Lark realizes she must act or lose her husband altogether. While Simonson's approach to Irish history and current politics is heavy-handed, her descriptions of the countryside and monuments, particularly as they relate to the old religions, lend a pleasantly spooky atmosphere to her tale.