After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.
Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.
Many such characters thrive on secrets, gossip, and the judgment of others, and they hold onto grudges. The characters in this novel carried those traits to the extreme. Perhaps it was the drought and the losses they all suffered that intensified these attitudes and behaviors.
When Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra, he only plans to stay through the funeral, but then Luke’s parents talk him into helping sort through the financial records.
The more he digs, the more he starts finding that many things don’t add up in the story of what happened to Luke and his family, so he stays on. But the townsfolk don’t want him there, badgering him, trashing his car, and one even pulled a gun on him.
Now those were some angry folks. Could Falk find the answers he is seeking, both to solve the murder in the present, and even find some answers about what happened in the past? Could he somehow manage to steer clear of the rage of the town?
Third person narratives told the story in the present, and an alternate perspective revealed bits and pieces of what had happened to Ellie Deacon twenty years before.
So many possible suspects came up in the story, and I found myself asking questions about each of them. Was Gretchen, Luke’s old girlfriend, as sweet as she seemed, or was there a dark side beneath the surface? What about Ellie’s father and cousin? Surely they were behind everything that happened, since their malevolence is like a thunder cloud on the horizon. But when the final reveal started to unfold, I was stunned. I thought that this person was the least likely perpetrator, which goes to show that in life, and in good mysteries, you can often overlook the one right in front of you. 5 stars.