Veterinarian Rachel Goddard wants desperately to escape from the past and make a fresh start in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia. But when the bones of a long-missing Melungeon woman turn up on a remote mountaintop, Rachel finds herself deeply tangled in crimes old and new, and squarely in the crosshairs of a killer’s gun.
The dead woman was murdered, and the job of finding her killer falls to Deputy Sheriff Tom Bridger, the new man in Rachel’s life. Tom, who is half Melungeon, thought he had escaped his mountain community’s lingering prejudice against the mixed-race group when he left to join the Richmond Police Department. Tom was moving up the detective ranks, but a family tragedy brought him back home and to take over his late father’s job as chief deputy in the Mason County Sheriff’s Department. Now, as he probes into the original investigation of the Melungeon woman’s disappearance 10 years before, he discovers his father was not the man he’d idolized.
Violence escalates as the victim’s poor family and the wealthy white family she married into scramble to protect their secrets from Tom’s scrutiny. Rachel places herself in danger when she befriends the dead Melungeon woman’s teenage niece, Holly. Convinced the girl harbors buried memories of her aunt’s brutal murder, Rachel fights to keep Holly safe while helping her piece together past events. Confronting decades of secrets and lies puts both their lives on the line as a ruthless killer hunts them down, determined to silence both of them forever.