The incomparable J. A. Jance returns with a powerful tale that explores the darkest corners of human nature, revealing the grievous injuries inflicted behind locked doors, the unseen wounds that bleed and destroy and never heal ...
The heat is a killer in Cochise County, Arizona, with temperatures over 100 degrees. In the suffocating stillness of an airless trailer, a woman is lying dead, a bullet hole in her chest. Why someone would murder a harmless loner with a soft spot for stray dogs is only one of the questionsnagging at the local police; another is why the killer used an eighty-five-year-old bullet, fired from the same weapon that slaughtered two other women who were discovered bound, naked, and gruesomely posed on the remote edge of a rancher's land.
The slayings are as oppressive as the blistering heat for Sheriff Joanna Brady, who must shoulder the added double burden of a brutal reelection campaign and major developments on the home front. With suddenly more on her plate than many big-city law officers have to contend with, Joanna must put marital distractions and an opponent's dirty tricks in the background and deal with the terrifying reality that now threatens everyone in her jurisdiction: a serial killer in their midst.
A twisted and lethal drama is unfolding in this small corner of the southwestern desert as fear, hatred, and the evil at the core of one family's history come to a rapid boil beneath a merciless Arizona sun. Pressure mounts for Sheriff Brady personally and professionally while she pursues a sadistic murderer into the shadows of the past to get to the roots of a monstrous obsession ... and expose the permanent wounds of a crime far worse than homicide.