Fans of Eric Wright's Charlie Salter series will quickly warm to his new detective, Mel Pickett, a Toronto homicide cop just retired to the rustic town of Larch River. It's a plain place for a plain man, and his life consists of simple pleasures: his hand-built log cabin, carpentry work for the community theater, and his cautious courtship of cafe proprietor Charlotte Mercer. But complications are not so easily left behind in the city--and neither is murder. Local lothario Timmy Marlow is found in the woods, shot dead, mauled, and nearly unrecognizable. The gossip around town suffests an outraged husband could be the killer. The town's police chief (and only cop) is too close to the victim, who was the despised brother of his girlfriend. The provincial police have picked up a convenient suspect, as unpopular as Marlow. But Pickett can't resist looking deeper, uncovering a criminal past more sinister and secret than he ever imagined.