Casey Maldonado is haunted by the deaths of her husband and young son. She hopes traveling through the vast reaches of Idaho will offer peace. Instead, she fights off three drunken locals before escaping to a quiet town where she wants to heal from her injuries and constant sorrow.
Her traveling companion, invisible to all but Casey, is Death, wearing a series of disguises and offering expert commentary on her difficulties.
Unfortunately, the village of Armstrong carries its own darkness. Casey finds a job and a comfortable guest room with the proprietor of the small general store, Vern and his ill wife, Dottie. Death keeps a close watch on Casey. She's surrounded by trouble.
She captures a teen spray-painting nasty graffiti on the store's wall. The town shuns Dottie and blames Vern for jilting his fianc e to marry an outsider - forty-five years ago. The woman's still stalking Vern today. Casey finds a hateful letter accusing Dottie of tragedy based on a Halloween party, a fatality, and a woman missing for forty-five years. Residents ignore the couple at a free outdoor movie they sponsor. Casey stops another attempt to spray-paint graffiti on the store.
Danger and cruelty range free beneath the calm surface of the town. When Dottie dies in the hospital, brutality overrides grief. A resident notifies the three attackers, who arrive to finish what they started with Casey. Finally, the painful truth explodes in violence based on revenge.
Judy Clemens spends her days in rural Ohio, where she writes, spends time with her family, and eats too much chocolate. She is the author of the Grim Reaper and Stella Crown mysteries, and is a past president of Sisters in Crime. www.judyclemens.com