Walking On Her Grave by Melinda Leigh is a novel about a small town appropriately named Solitude set in sparsely populated Rogue County of Southwestern Oregon. The town is economically dominated by the O’Rourke family with their latest venture The O’Rourke Resort. The resort is under construction so there is a lot of work for skilled labor. There are many contracts that must be made with suppliers. The town is totally dependent on the O’Rourkes.
As is the case with many remote areas that have small police forces responsible for a large territory, parts of remote areas become a target for drug cartel operations. Competition for lucrative markets for drug product encourage violence. That began to happen in Solitude with the murder of the Sheriff, who also happened to be the father of Carly, a main female character who is almost a single mom. Carly, a Child Protective Service case worker, doesn’t want to be a single mom but she cannot abide the overly protective attitude of her former husband, Seth, a Sheriff’s deputy also assigned to a drug task force trying to determine what is going on in Solitude. Carly loves Seth but loves freedom more. She has moved in with her mom who helps take care of daughter Brianna and refuses to continue or repair a relationship with Seth until he respects her abilities and independence, something she does not expect to happen.
Carly’s job as an investigator and Seth’s similar job, although with a different agency, dictate their paths will cross. A fire at the O’Rourke Resort, one that was declared to be arson, increases the frequency of their contact. Sometimes they are investigating and interviewing the same suspects at the same time with different objectives. There are lots of suspects that must be interviewed quickly because people seem to be dying almost every day as drug activities and cover-ups increase. The Carly-Seth relationship, whether it matures or not, is played out in the context of their forced joint investigations.
This is a story with little depth. It was apparent to me early on who the puppet master of the crimes was. Then there was just the question of how a scheme played out. I felt the author(s) spent a lot of time describing beautiful settings of the Oregon wilderness. The descriptive scene writing was quite good but that is not the novel I thought this would be. I gave this novel three Amazon stars. Perhaps a travel blogger would have given it more.