A police procedural. Ah, I'm sick of trying to boil the book down into a few words.
A beautiful young woman brutally murdered. A county sheriff working on a shoe-string budget struggles against a hostile press, potent political forces arrayed against him, and the twists of faulty laboratory test results to save his job, his belief in himself, and his family.
"Eileen Matthews was killed last night."
Of course she had to have the whole story. She pumped every detail out of him.
"And Whit thinks John Matthews did it?" she said.
"Wants to talk to him, is all," he said. "Always talk to the mother and father. And boyfriend...."
"Yes, dummy. Don't you know anything? John married Stella after Eileen was born."
"Well, maybe he just married her late."
Carol set his hot cocoa in front of him with a bang, spilling some, making him jump back. "I said stepfather."