When an old family friend leaves Kevin Kerney 6400 acres of high country land outside Las Vegas, New Mexico, the last thing Kerney wants to think about is police work, taking a rare weekend off from his job as deputy chief of the New Mexico State Police, Kerney sets out to explore the land, a rugged mesa in the shadow of Hermit's Peak.
Before Kenny can get very far, he comes upon an ailing stray dog with a woman's running shoe in his mouth. The dog leads him to the butchered bones of a murder victim, and Kerney finds he's inherited a homicide along with the ranch. Determined not to see his weekend ruined, Kerney turns the investigation over to the state police district office and continues his survey of his windfall inheritance, only to find that the timber thieves have clear-cut a great swath of woodland in a remote canyon.
Unsure of whether he can pay the inheritance taxes, hold on to his land, and realize his dream to ranch again, Kerney returns to Santa Fe. There, he finds that Sara Brannon - a woman he cares deeply about - has arrived to visit him. As Kerney and Sara begin trying to sort out a relationship that means more to both of them than either is willing to admit, Kerney is called back to Hermit's Peak. Another murder victim has been found at a remote cabin next to Kerney's property, and he is soon engaged in a race against time to solve two murders and avert another.
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