Ryan Malley had a self-absorbed personality and had a very high opinion of himself except for his mother an opinion of one. As the story progresses, we meet Leah Nash the owner of the Himmel Times and local author of two novels. Attending the high school reunion with her current boyfriend, lawyer Gabe Hoffman , she is joined by Ryan and his stepbrother Steven. Other prominent members of the community attend this function when Ryan approaches her, reminds everyone present of their past as he gloats and wallows in his successes he claims as an actor until someone approaches the group and from this point on things takes serious decline and someone attacks Ryan with more than just words. Gina is distraught and out of control when screaming at Ryan and even using force while telling everyone about their failed relationship and not understanding why he didn’t want her in his life. Adding insult to injury she even points out he dumped Leah for her, and the rest requires someone to remove her and take her away. Leah must feel embarrassed but Ryan unmoved and did even care about her sadness and moved on to the next group that wanted his attention.
Maggie her managing editor, her mother the receptionist, Miguel who does reporting and is a stylist , Coop her dearest friend and cop, plus Charlie Ross a Detective that’s he has a love/hate relationship with these characters provide the backdrop for what happens in this mystery novel.
Things get out of control when James Shaw and Ryan come face to face and the fireworks ignite even more. A fight, insults and James drunk and away with a car service giving more people gossip. But Go to News the new digital online paper airs a story about what happened between Ryan and Gina adding Leah as a major part of the story creating embarrassments all around. The new owner could care less about hurting or embarrassing anyone it’s about the story.
Just when things could not get even more tense Leah gets a shocking call that Ryan was killed. Gunshot wounds and left for dead now the spotlights on both Gina and mainly James. A boating accident caused James to lose a limb and the anger within him and Ryan’s rejection of him at the reunion helped set off his anger and the confrontation that ensued. Police called and James taken away just who killed Ryan was on the minds of everyone but his stepbrother although somewhat upset for Joanna, Ryan’s mother showed little compassion. Money and a huge inheritance might be at the heart of this murder, but Leah now asked by Gabe to be part of the team dove right into it and has made headway in some areas and stonewalled in others. James tells what he remembered but is he holding back information? Marcy who took control of Gina after her outburst what is Leah missing?
The police made James their primary suspect but their Sheriff Lamey is totally inept and his questions prove he has no idea about how to run an investigation. Charlie Ross and Leah share information but for some reason he won’t take on the top position.
Tensions rise, lies are told and Joanna wants Leah to find the killer but she’s on the team to clear James and that puts her on the outs with Joanna who is blind to Ryan’s faults and sees him through rose colored eyes after all she’s his mother.
Questioning Gina, then Marcy she hopes to learn more about where Gina was and her estranged relationship with her parents. The author also shares Gina’s past with Ryan and why her parents through her out and where she wound up and why.
The list of suspects grew as Warren Cox , Gina’s father had an alibi, but he found the body. Why did he go to see Ryan on Sunday morning? Did he kill him and was he hoping to collect the evidence that would incriminate him?
Steven and his wife Lily lie about being home, were they? What was Steven doing and where was Lily? Wanda who cares for Joanna had her own theory about Ryan and Lily. Miguel was helping her and what if James was lying about the stranger that gave him a ride. He lost his Glock 19 which used 9mm bullets did Warren Cox have a handgun with the same bullets? What about Steven and Lily. Leah needed more information and had to find other source.
Then things get tense when Gabe and Leah must deal with their relationship, and it falls apart. He wants to move ahead, and she wants her individuality and own space. She will not give up her loft and the conversation end in a negative way. Fearful of losing her freedom and her own ability to make decisions. You can tell her insecurities because she needs and constantly seeks the approval of others and must always be right.
Things take on a different turn when Allie reveals something to help James and then she uncovers something to possibly help with the murder case. Many different directions but who killed Ryan? Author Susan Hunter takes readers in many directions and inside Leah’s mind as we hear her thoughts in the narrative. With her mother’s support in some way, Coop her best friend giving her reassurance Leah is determined to be the one to solve the case.
An unexpected revelation by Allie winds up on Go News and then someone comes to see Leah thinking her daughter was okay, but a suicide comes in the picture, but the evidence is seeming planted as this death and Ryan’s seem connected. Inheritance and money might be at the heart of both deaths and the possible beneficiary might be the killer. Leah is once again drawn into finding out what happened as a mother wants justice for her child and a father who is unforgiving.
Then Leah finds herself face to face with the killer who is delusional and has someone with her thinking she is someone else. Images arise and then a harsh reality sets in and thinks take a deadly turn as author Susan Hunter presents a twist , surprise and explosive ending that you won’t see coming. Some endings are new beginnings but for how long. Will Gabe and Leah reconnect? Will Coop move to Florida after leaving the department? Will Leah ever learn to trust her feelings and move ahead in a more positive direction? Leah Nash is hardheaded, bold and takes chances that often places her on Dangerous Ground.
Hard hitting, bold characters and a plot true to life another great Leah Nash novel.
Fran Lewis Just reviews