Ten years ago, following a vicious attack, Lark Leopold returned to her parents' home to recuperate. Their love kept her safe but isolated. To break out of her exile, Lark conducts a federally-funded study monitoring farm animals. Her first introduction to Metamora County, Iowa, is a rude reception from farmer Nathan Senatra and the discovery of a murdered body in his pond.

Suffering from a major hangover, the last thing Nathan wants to deal with is some government bureaucrat. Nathan's life has been sliding out of control ever since he lost almost everything in a nasty divorce. Nathan's hangover is exacerbated by Lark's screams when she discovers Mary Jane's strangled body in the pond.

Officer Adam Trent has waited a long time to get revenge on Nathan, who he blames for his sister's mental breakdown back in high school. Lark can't figure Nathan out. Though he tries to intimidate her, she senses his pain and loneliness. Lark gets to see within the man after she saves Nathan's life during a tractor accident. Are his own wounds too deep to break through her barriers?

Theresa Weir delivers a splendid character study that peers deeply into the hearts of two lonely and damaged individuals. Once again Ms. Weir exhibits her special knack for wonderful storytelling. (May, 256 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M Smith