In North Carolina at the end of August it is the height of hurricane season. Stan Freeman is working on a school project. He wants to track one via the weather radio from its beginning through to when it dwindles back to a mild tropical storm. The weather isn't cooperating, though. The storms build, then dwindle away before they become destructive.
Judge Deborah Knott is at home in Colton County. She is hearing cases in her home courtroom before and after the Labor Day break. On Saturday she joins the softball game between the sheriff's department and the local lawyers. She is sitting on the bench beside Jason Bullock when he receives a phone call from his wife. Lynn tells him she is up in Virginia shopping with her sister. The next morning, Lynn Bullock is found strangled in a local hotel.
Some clues are found around the body. They lead to men who have been part of Lynn's life in the past year or so. One of them is Deborah's cousin and ex-law partner, Reid Stephenson. The Judge tries to stay out of the case, but the sheriff is a childhood friend. She is able to be kept up on the findings and gossip. Meanwhile, Hurrican Fran is coming up the coast.
Maron keeps delivering good books in her Deborah Knott series. This one can easily stand alone as well as stay in order for the personal side of the story. There is a compelling side story that involves the black community and Deborah's friend Cyl. It is resolved in an honest manner that I was glad (and disappointed) to see. This is well crafted, with enough red herrings to keep the reader guessing along with Judge Knott.
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