In an idyllic Colorado town, a young girl goes missing—and the trail leads into the heart and mind of a remorseless killer.
The late summer heat in Echo Valley, Colorado turns lush greenery into a tinder dry landscape. When a young girl mysteriously disappears, long buried grudges rekindle. Of the two Flores girls, Marisa was the one people pegged for trouble. Her younger sister, Lena, was the quiet daughter, dutiful and diligent—right until the moment she vanished.
Detective Jo Wyatt is convinced the eleven-year-old girl didn’t run away and that a more sinister reason lurks behind her disappearance. For Jo, the case is personal, reaching far back into her past. But as she mines Lena’s fractured family life, she unearths a cache of secrets and half-lies that paints a darker picture.
As the evidence mounts, so do the suspects, and when a witness steps forward with a shocking new revelation, Jo is forced to confront her doubts, and her worst fears. Now, it's just a matter of time before the truth is revealed—or the killer makes another deadly move.
In Browning's well-crafted sequel to 2020's Shadow Ridge, Det. Jo Wyatt of the Echo Valley, Colo., PD looks into the disappearance of Lena Flores, an 11-year-old girl who went missing after attending the Echo Valley Fair with her older sister, Marisa. Jo, who has no actionable information to go on, believes Lena might have been kidnapped. On her short list of suspects are a carnival worker who noticed the two girls watching his game; Lena's father, Lucero, who's divorced from her mother; and a neighbor who's a sex offender. But the more she investigates, the more Jo finds herself digging through lies: Lucero about his alibi, Marissa about who she was with at the fair, and a paper delivery guy about knowing the occupants in Lena's mother's home. It takes a key interview, under highly unusual circumstances, for Jo to break the case. The action of this heart-wrenching story builds to a somewhat unbelievable twist, but the action-packed conclusion satisfies. Readers will feel like they're getting a glimpse into the real world of police work.