Lori G. Armstrong
Medallion, Nov 2007, $7.95
In Bear Butte County South Dakota private investigative partners Julie Collins and Kevin Wells freeze their butts off observing Langston Everett for Rushmore West Insurance who believes he is pulling an injury compensation scam. After feeling colder than a frozen popsicle, the surveillance team snaps into action when Lang leaves his home to ride an ATV; Julie and Kevin follow filming his activity until his vehicle suddenly flies into the air. He is dead and there is a big hole in the ground that Lang apparently drove partly in before flying over a nearby embankment. Kevin calls the sheriff’s office.
As Sheriff Al Richards and his team check the crime scene, Lang’s spouse June arrives to learn of her husband’s death. She asks Julie to say nothing about the hole that was covered, but is back sans the bones of humans that were buried there. Al asks Julie to help on the case as he lacks manpower, but that leads to issues with the Standing Elk family. They hid information related to her brother Ben as Abita Kahlen arrives from Arizona accompanied by her three years old son Jericho who has a face that could only mean he is Julie’s nephew.
The third Collins private investigative mystery (see HOLLOWED GROUND and BLOOD TIES) continues to provide insight into what happened to Ben with a few side shockers. The current case causes additional strain on Julie, but courageously she keeps digging in an effort to learn what was in the SHALLOW GRAVE that was re-dug leading to Lang’s demise and much more as a simple insurance fraud case turns deadly and personal. Lori G. Armstrong lives up to the last syllable of her surname with this superb whodunit.