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Dixon Sinclair arrives in Jexville, Mississippi, the town of her forebears, to find solace, stop drinking, and rebuild her life after her father’s murder. As the new publisher of the weekly newspaper and a second-generation journalist, she’s determined to ignite the political will of the townspeople and expose the corruption of the old guard. She forms an uneasy partnership with Sheriff J.D. Horton, another prodigal son returned hoping to find peace and a sense of fulfillment by keeping his town safe. Then two teenage girls disappear from a sandbar on the swift-moving Pascagoula River, and fears surface that evil lurks in the depths of the swampland-an evil consumed with rage against betrayal and an insatiable desire for vengeance. Suspicions fall on a mysterious transient, a young man running from a violent past in the Catholic Church of Mexico. Yet J.D. and Dixon discover that many there in Jexville have been betrayed, innocents suffering the sins of the fathers. Now they must find out who is willing to kill for revenge.
Delta mystery writer Haines returns to Jexville, Miss. (Touched), for the adventures of Dixon Sinclair, a big-city reporter who moves to the small town to stop drinking and start publishing a local weekly. Haunted by doubts about the guilt of the man convicted of killing her father, Dixon stands up to Big Jim Welford of the local board of ed, pursues the teacher he fires then reinstates in secret, photographs a defiled statue of the Virgin Mary, aids Sheriff J.D. Horton in a search for two missing teenagers and still has time for lunch at the diner with the town's nicest woman (a Methodist minister) and its richest (the bank president's wife). Haines's portraits of a Mexican immigrant's religious turmoil and the relationship between the bank president's daughter and her reclusive fisherman lover are complex and touching; the bank president and his wife seem like caricatures in comparison. Haines builds suspense with images of violent crime and the thrill of breaking news, then undermines it by chasing too many leads, stopping only for mind-numbing recaps of suspects and clues. Her uneven storytelling is mitigated, though, by a resilient, likable heroine. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved