Something's askew in the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona. The town's inhabitants are divided by urban growth. Some entrepreneurs try to make a quick buck by selling out the very aspect of the town that drew them: the awe-inspiring views and natural beauty. Spirited, passionate, and a bit mettlesome, Derek Mason helps his aunt Ruby find her place in the New Age haven, but instead they discover her real estate agent scalped in an empty condo. The crafty real estate agent had intended to sell off part of the pristine landscape, to scalp the land to the highest bidder, but someone scalped him first.
Derek meets Myra and Topher, best friends with a shared secret from Devil's Bridge; Kimbo Blue, a former child star from Hollywood with a eunuch-ness that defies his adult persona; Clarity Received, the new-age girlfriend of the victim; and Tricia, the diva ex-wife. Along with a troupe of paranoid art gallery owners, gossipy sales clerks, sexy day workers, and a Jeep-driving Yavapai Apache, the quirky characters of the resort town hamper Derek's attempts to expose the killer.
Small town secrets, shady deals, and serial arsonists threaten to throw Derek off the trail. The destructive power of greed materializes in the idyllic setting, and Derek struggles to keep his sense of self-value over the immediate gratification of self-indulgence. Temptation from his past jeopardizes his future, unless he can tame his libido and focus. Or will he lose his head too?
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I only got about an hour and a half in to the book because I couldn't take the narration any longer. It sounds like a grizzled middle-aged film noir detective telling a Chandleresque gritty city story in the first person. So it's very odd to hear the MC described as an early 20s southerner in a small Western town. The same problem applied to the first book in the series, but perhaps the story was more intriguing so I put up with it. In this case, the odd narration seems to emphasize flaws in the writing. Far too much exposition and description to be gripping under the circumstances. It's a shame, because the characters developed in the first book were really good.
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