Morrow, Jul 2003, 23.95, 293 pp.
Reporter Frank Corso fell from grace when he was accused of making up a crime story. However, Frank is resourceful and easily reinvented himself into a true-crime writer who claims to have insider information on a Texas high-society murder. Rather than face the results of a subpoena demanding he talk, Frank does what comes naturally; he goes on the run. Accompanying Frank into hiding in wintry Wisconsin is his photographer, Meg Dougherty.
Following an accident caused by blizzard like weather, Frank and Meg take shelter on an abandoned farm in Avalon. In the shed, they discover the remains of the male members of the Holmes family, whom everyone thought, simply left town fifteen years ago. The local sheriff cuts a deal with Frank that he won't be handed over to Texas if he investigates the murders. Already fascinated by the grisly scene, Frank accepts the terms. He starts his inquiries by looking into the mother of the brood who's not part of the skeletal remains. He soon traces her bloody trail to other homicides, but the culprit has plans to add the writer to the pile of deaths.
The suspense is at the usual high level expected in a G.M Ford novel starring the likable Frank who is accompanied by a support cast that adds exaggerated regional eccentricities. Yet with all that the tale seems off slightly because whenever Frank hits a dead end he finds this incredible Ziggy like source that moves him further along on the case. Still fans will move forward because the rapid pace, the chilling suspense, and the quaint cast make for a strong entertaining read.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner