Amos Decker is on vacation with his partner, Alex Jamison, at her sister Amber’s home in PA. They are both there to get some R & R and to celebrate the 6th birthday of Alex’s niece Zoe. Sitting outside, while talking to Zoe, Amos notices flickering lights in the house behind theirs. He runs over to check and he finds and puts out an electrical fire. In this abandoned house, he also discovers two dead bodies. Who are the dead? Why are they dead? Who killed them? In a short time, more unexplained tragedies and deaths follow.
Essentially, the story revolves around drugs, murder and a missing treasure. The opioid epidemic is taking a large percentage of the population. There is the rising possibility of an insurance scam and the distinct possibility that some desperate residents have turned to crime. The investigation seems to also indicate a police department that has been corrupted and needs some serious cleansing. The idea of a missing fortune literally leads to a treasure hunt with tragic consequences.
In this small, once thriving town that has fallen on hard times, the residents find themselves down and out and desperate. The Baron family created this town with mines and factories and then sold it all for profit, putting the townspeople out of work with nothing to do and nowhere to go. Where did the wealth of the Baron family disappear to since it did not go to the descendants? That is a mystery which each successive generation has pondered unsuccessfully. Even though some parts of the town of Baronville are coming back, as businesses start up there and are hiring, some of the townspeople are still struggling and can’t make ends meet. Desperate people often make desperate choices.
Four generations of Barons lived and died there, some mysteriously. The first Baron, who made the fortune, had a horrible reputation as a stingy, selfish and mean man. The last is a man hated and maligned by the town and its people because they unfairly blame him and his family for their hard luck and hard times.
The mystery kept me interested, but there were too many tangents and the dialog was often melodramatic and hackneyed. In addition, not all of the characters were credible. The book could have used some sharp editing since lots of dialogue seemed to exist only to fill space.