Now in her sheriff role for 4 months, Piper is called out in The Dead of NIght to meet Mark ‘the Shark’ Thresher, a nonagenarian who is convinced his money is being stolen online. Piper agrees to investigate but on the way back to her car, she trips in the dark over some bones. A nine year old skeleton, buried for over half a century.
Meanwhile, Piper’s department is being shaken up with the departure of one of the team and a set of interviews is required. But her father, the former sheriff, is now cancer free and wants to return to police work. Plus Piper’s relationship with Nang is developing so both her personal and professional life are rapidly changing.
The plot differs greatly against the gore of the first book The Dead of Winter. The use of online hacking is very up to date and contrasts wonderfully with the cold case and traditional investigating required to find the identity of the boy and his murderer. The two main cases are bolstered by DUIs and a mailbox destroyer which adds plenty of drama and action to the novel.
The gentler plotline allows greater development of the characters and their relationships. Oren, her chief deputy is more respectful of his young boss now, and Piper is working hard to include him and welcome his opinions. Mark the Shark is a great character but I won’t include any spoilers about his character arc. There is an undercurrent of emotion in this book that was unexpected but very enjoyable, which I think is a credit to the author’s skill at making us care about the characters and their lives.
I liked this book just as much as the first as the characters are so engaging and human. The Dead of NIght secures Piper as a credible and likable leader and detective, strong yet vulnerable. I am looking forward to the next book in the series!