Setting: Coeur D'Alene, Idaho 1988
First sentence: The girl felt hope leave her as the road went dark.
There is no shortage of dysfunctional people in Ned Hayes's novel. It seems that everyone is hiding secrets. Everyone has a skeleton in the closet. And, no one wants to admit to the truth.
Matt Worthson, the main character of the novel, is no exception. He is a flawed hero. Matt is a lieutenant in the Bitterroot county sheriff''s office. He is a recovering alcoholic. He blames himself for the automobile accident which took the life of a young woman. Matt has relationship problems with his wife, his son, and his father. To make matters worse, he gets little respect from his fellow officers.
There has been a horrible murder. The victim was a popular local minister. His dismembered body was found in a restroom of an upscale resort hotel. The hotel is owned by the richest family in town. Matt wants to investigate the crime, but the political leaders of the town want him to give the case to the FBI.
As Matt investigates, he discovers that the murder is somehow connected to a mine accident which took the lives of ninety-one miners several years ago. Matt's father is considered a hero by many for saving so many miners' lives during that accident.
Intertwined with the main plot are the thoughts of a five year old girl.
Who is the girl, and what does she know?
Why was the minister's body found at the resort?
Who caused the mine disaster?
For me, this was a frustrating read. The story is told in a nonlinear fashion. Moving from character to character, and back and forth in time made the story difficult to follow.
Additionally, Matt is a frustrating character. Just when he was close to learning the truth, or discovering a clue he balked. Matt was so afraid of the emotional pain the truth would cause that he preferred living in denial.
In the end, when Matt finally faces his fears, he learns the truth, and solves the mystery.