Fall comes to Pepin County with a vengeance as Deputy Sheriff Claire Watkins confronts a new evil festering beneath the placid surface of the Wisconsin farm community. A refugee from the Twin Cities, Claire has slowly adapted to small-town life - especially now that she loves and lives with Rich Haggard. But in this rural area, other folks are dangerously restless.
One is Daniel Reiner, a wealthy part-time resident who’s been buying up too much land - at least as far as the locals are concerned. Another is gambling addict and aging gold digger Patty Jo Tilde, who recently married a widower twenty years her senior. Patty is itching to inherit her husband’s property, sell it to Reiner, and leave the countryside behind. The only stumbling block - her husband must die.
Add to the mix a suspicious goat-herding daughter-in-law and a wounded elk, and things quickly reach a boiling point. As Claire Watkins delves deeper into the mystery, she believes she’s uncovered a deadly history of lies, deceit, arson, and poison. Her problem is to prove it - and then she learns what happened to Patty Jo’s last husband. . . .