St. Martin's, Apr 2005, 23.95, 256 pp.
Nola is recovering from brain surgery in a Toronto hospital when her significant other Ritchie forces her to leave and go to Ruth Wilmarth's Upstate New York dairy farm to talk to his brother. Darren. Apparently Darren has left his Uncle Tormey's Tonawanda farm to work as a hired hand for the summer at Ruth's spread.
Nola left the hospital without being released and a patient died there from Creutzfeldt Jekob disease, a form of mad cow disease that people can catch from infected food. The hospital wants Nola to return so they can test her, but she wants to get her son away from Tormey first. Darren, who is Colm's cousin and Ruth's lover, refuses to go back to his uncle's farm despite his brother's pleading. Ritchie turns violent even towards Nola, but soon is found dead. Everyone except Ruth thinks Nola killed him; Ruth, though she has problems with the USDA confiscating her herd, tries to prove Nola is innocent although her lover Colm is on the police force and convinced Nola killed Ritchie.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner