Virtue Falls, Washington State
If Elizabeth Banner noticed the interest with which the townspeople talked about her in low tones behind her back, she gave no indication. And in fact, she didn’t notice. For as long as she could remember, she had always been the girl who had watched her father kill her mother with the scissors.
Although Elizabeth hadn’t set foot in Virtue Falls for twenty-three years, the memory of Misty Banner’s murder was still fresh in many people’s minds. That made Elizabeth a local celebrity of sorts, and the news of her return swept the small community as vigorously as the tsunami those crazy scientists were always predicting.
Townsfolk speculated that Elizabeth had come back to reunite with her father, but after one brief visit to the Honor Mountain Memory Care Facility, she hadn’t gone back. Instead she spent her time at the ongoing study of Pacific Rim tectonic plates and subduction zones, researching alluvial deposits.
Which made sense—her father was Charles Banner, the man who had pioneered the study, and now here she was, a chip off the old block, a respected geologist at age twenty-seven with lots of official-sounding letters after her name.
A few nasty people in the town darkly muttered that they hoped she didn’t follow in her father’s footsteps in any matter beyond the sciences.
Most folks didn’t think she would; Elizabeth resembled her mother, not her father, with the same white-blond hair, the same wide blue eyes, the same curvy body and a walk to make a man abandon all sense.
Every straight guy in Virtue Falls had tried to catch her attention; she stared at them blankly, and talked about igneous rocks and cataclysmic earth events until even the most determined would-be lover conceded defeat.
Her online profile said she was divorced.
Most men said they knew why; she was boring.
Perversely, most men considered the guy who had let Elizabeth Banner get away to be the biggest dumbshit in the history of the world. It didn’t matter what she said. It was the way her full lips formed the words when she said them.
Now she sat at her usual table by the window at the Oceanview Café—when she first arrived, she had noted with interest that the ocean was nowhere in view from this part of town—reviewing her notes from the dig and occasionally sipping on a Fufu Berry Jones soda and wondering why she had ordered it.
She thought she had ordered a root beer. And what was a fufu berry, anyway? Something pink …
“Here you go, Elizabeth.” The waitress slid a plate under Elizabeth’s elbow. “Eat up while it’s hot.”
Elizabeth had finished work at the dig, gone home and showered, and changed into her brand-new Tory Burch sandals and her baby blue cotton jersey summer dress that was one size too big. She wore it like that on purpose. If she didn’t, men had a tendency to stare at her boobs.
Well. Men had a tendency to stare at her boobs no matter what, but when she wore loose-fitting clothes, they were sometimes able to meet her eyes.
Rainbow wiped her hands on her apron. “Are you missing your team?̶
Twenty-three years ago, Misty Banner was brutally slashed to death in her home in Virtue Falls, Washington. Her husband was convicted of the murder. Their four year old daughter Elizabeth witnessed the crime, but has no memory of the killing. Now, two decades later, Elizabeth is back in Virtue Falls. She soon discovers her father is innocent. The real killer is still out there. And her investigation has stirred dark and deadly resentments that could provoke in another bloody murder—her own—in this riveting novel from bestselling author Christina Dodd.