Synopses & Reviews
As Judge Deborah Knott presides over a case involving a barroom brawl, it becomes clear that deep resentments over race, class, and illegal immigration are simmering just below the surface in the countryside. An early spring sun has begun to shine like a blessing on the fertile fields of North Carolina, but along with the seeds sprouting in the thawing soil, violence is growing as well. Mutilated body parts have appeared along the back roads of Colleton County, and the search for the victim's identity and for that of his killer will lead Deborah and her new husband, Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant, into the desperate realm of undocumented farm workers exploited for cheap labor.
In the meantime, Deborah and Dwight continue to adjust to married life and to having Dwight's eight-year-old son, Cal, live with them full time. When another body is found, these newlyweds will discover dark truths that threaten to permanently alter the serenity of their rural surroundings and their new life together.
"'Fans of Edgar-winner Maron's reliably pleasing Deborah Knott series will be glad to see the North Carolina judge back on the bench in this intriguing 13th mystery (after 2006's Winter's Child). Deborah has to decide a high-stakes divorce case with a no-show husband as well as preside over a growing caseload involving migrant workers pitted against locals. Meanwhile, body parts begin to appear in rural Colleton County that turn out to belong to Buck Harris, a farmer known for his exploitation of cheap immigrant labor who happens to be Deborah's missing divorce plaintiff. When Knott's new husband, sheriff's deputy Dwight Bryant, investigates the immigrants living on the Harris farm, he uncovers a sequence of events that suggest something much more damaging than the sheer indifference the victim had shown to his workers. As Deborah adjusts to becoming the stepmother of Dwight's motherless eight-year-old son, Cal, her large extended family debates the future of their own family farm. Readers will eagerly await further developments in the next book.' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Maron, who has won every award for mystery writers, is at the top of her game." South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"[Maron] gives a clear picture of contemporary life in the rural South, tying it up in a neat mystery that keeps the reader guessing to the end. Highly recommended." Library Journal
"There is an established audience for this series, and they will welcome the latest." Booklist
For Judge Deborah Knott, it becomes clear that deep resentments over race, class, and illegal immigration are brewing in the countryside. When mutilated bodies are found, Deborahs search for the killer leads her to a desperate realm of undocumented farm workers exploited for cheap labor.
About the Author
Margaret Maron grew up on a farm near Raleigh, North Carolina, but for many years lived in Brooklyn, New York. When she returned to her North Carolina roots with her artist-husband, Joe, she began a series based on her own background.