As Bland revisits her Marti MacAlister series, this experienced, down-to-earth Illinois police detective tries to discover the identity of a skeleton and unravel the murder of an archeology student who was digging near the home of a prominent family.

When Larisa Linski's body is found at the site of an archeological dig, Josiah Smith and his family maintain that a boulder accidentally fell on her. But soon, the body of Smith handyman Harry Buckner is found, apparently pushed from a barn loft.

Marti and partner Vik must search for the killer among the closemouthed Smith family. The detectives discover that Josiah's ancestors may have underreported proceeds from salt mines—and used both slave and Indian labor there.

As the detectives try to find a link between the practices of Josiah's ancestors and the present-day murders, Bland keeps the story moving at a fast pace with Marti encountering attempts on her life and Vik coping with his ailing wife. The finale is a cliffhanger that will leave the reader filling in the blanks. (Dec., 288 pp., $23.95)

Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick