Cass Adams is crazy, and everyone in Deacon, Kansas, knows it. But when her good-for-nothing husband, Roland, goes missing, no one suspects that Cass buried him in their unfinished koi pond. Too bad he doesn't stay there for long. Cass gets arrested on the banks of the Spring River for dumping his corpse after heavy rain partially unearths it.
The police chief wants a quick verdict—he's running for sheriff and has no time for crazy talk. But like Roland's corpse, secrets start to surface, and they bring more to light than anybody expected. Everyone in Cass's life thinks they know her—her psychic grandmother, her promiscuous ex-best friend, her worm-farming brother-in-law, and maybe even her local ghost. But after years of separate silences, no one knows the whole truth. Except Roland. And he's not talking.
This novel is the first of a projected series and is set in a town loosely based on Gamble's hometown of Baxter Springs, Kans. The story opens as Cass Adams is burying Roland, her husband of 18 years, whom she has apparently just murdered. Cass's first-person voice is intriguing, but her character soon steps back to join a rotating cast of narrators, including her dead husband's brother, who has always carried a torch for her; an envious former best friend; a sister who is fortuitously married to an attorney; and a police chief with political ambitions. Cass has a history of assorted psychological problems, all misdiagnosed, mistreated, or both. This book might have been an interesting exploration of mental illness, but the narrative's shifting points of view allow for only limited access to Cass's mind, and her apparent craziness is ultimately just another ingredient in a would-be Gothic stew that slowly dissolves, as long-standing wounds are healed and people settle into happily-ever-after land. (BookLife)