Reece Gilmore’s arrival in Angel’s Fall coincides with her car breaking down, and her finding a job there. She gets herself hired at Angel Food, or Joanie’s, run by the admirable Joanie Parks. At work she meets Linda-Gail case, and they become good friends; something Reece really needs.
When Reece meets Brody, a writer, she isn’t overly impressed. Her initial opinion of him is a slightly rude man, and ignores him for the most part. Brody shows he is actually quite decent when he follows Reece up the trail she is hiking to see if she is doing fine. It is just as well – Reece witnesses a murder through her binoculars and races down the trial in panic. Brody manages to calm her down, get her to his cabin, and call the police.
When the Sheriff arrives, he agrees to investigate into Reece’s claims. He follows through, even going to the alleged crime scene to look for clues. He also looks into her past as a precaution, and confides in Brody that she is the sole survivor of a restaurant killing that left all her co-workers dead.
Brody and Reece go back to the scene, and try to look for clues. On their way back, they kiss, and Brody tells her that he plans to do it again. She is amused and conflicted at her feelings, and asks a little distance to get her feelings in order, since she hasn’t been with a man since the shootings.
Reece worries that she is slipping back into the mental condition she was in after the massacre. Her clothes are stained with red ink, her garbage ends up in her trunk, there is stuff written over her bathroom walls, and finally, her small flat is flooded, flooding the diner below as well. Reece is fully convinced she is sabotaging herself, but Brody manages to convince her that it might be the killer trying to get out of town. With Brody believing in her, they start searching for clues, and finally find a possible victim – a woman working in a biker bar in Jacksonville, Deena Black. By all accounts, Deena wasn’t an upstanding citizen, but Reece still feels responsible to see that she is found and her killer apprehended.
A decomposed body is found in the woods, and the Sheriff presses Reece to admit that it could be the woman Reece saw. Reece doesn’t accept this, and the only people who still believe her are Linda-Gail, Joanie and Brody.
Linda-Gail and Joanie’s son, William (Lo), starts the relationship that has been threatening to happen since their childhood days. When Lo lies to Linda-Gail about his whereabouts one night, she nearly leaves him, but grudgingly accepts to wait until he has proven himself. Reece finds out he lied about his whereabouts on the night the killer stalked her in Brody’s apartment, and she begs Linda to keep her in the loop.
Lo proposes, revealing his true whereabouts – he had been arranging the proposal. Linda-Gail accepts, and the happy couple barely notice the drama taking place. After the sheriff calls Brody to his cabin, he drugs him, and waits for Reece to do the same to her. He reveals his affair with Deena Black, the victim, and how she wouldn’t back off when he broke off the relationship. Brody struggles through his drug haze to trip Rick, and Reece runs out of the cabin. She bursts into the cabin that Linda-Gail and Lo are staying in, steals a gun, and rushes back to save Brody. Rick shoots Brody in the shoulder, but Brody and Reece manages to restrain Rick, and he is taken in custody.
At the end of the book, Brody asks Reece to move in with him, and settle into a life together.
This book has always been one of my favorite books. I had sympathy with Reece all the way through, and felt her empowerment as she rebuilt her shattered life. She is the type of needy character I can tolerate, and worked so hard to be someone again. Brody himself had everything needed for the male lead. He is so unashamedly male, and his reactions towards everything fit with his character. The book is, as usual, full of rich detail, and Nora Roberts once again manages to get the reader absorbed in her fictional world.