Ruth Harris, Sherriff Ike Schwartz's fiancee, is involved in a near fatal automobile accident. But Ike is convinced the crash was rigged. Even though he is embroiled in a close election, has no jurisdiction over the investigation, and can find no support in the usual law enforcement community, he places himself on leave and goes rogue to investigate and seek the person or persons responsible for putting Ruth in a coma.
Help arrives from unexpected and irregular sources. Old friends in the covert community step up and his loyal staff in Picketsville provide undercover assistance. The journey leads Ike to state's rights organizations, then to several zealots and dissident academics before it finally ends at home in Picketsville.
Ike Schwartz has clearly seen better days than those confronting him at the start of Ramsay's tepid seventh mystery featuring the CIA op turned smalltown Virginia sheriff (after 2010's The Eye of the Virgin). A suspicious car crash in Washington, D.C., has left Ike's college president fianc e, Ruth Harris, comatose, and Picketsville's mayor is openly trying to unseat him in the upcoming election. As a somewhat subdued Ike pursues an investigation into Ruth's "accident," for which he has no jurisdiction, with the aid of his old comrade in espionage, Charlie Garland, and the questionable assistance of sundry local yokels, oodles of talk and very little action ensue. By the time several subplots involving everything from Ruth's suspicious second-in-command to hay rustlers kick in and bodies start dropping, only devoted fans of this folksy series are likely to remain engaged.