The last time anyone in Cottonwood County, Wyoming saw Sheriff's Deputy Foster Redus, he was bloody, cussing, and driving his pimped-out pickup into the November darkness. A week before Christmas, rancher Thomas David Burrell was arrested for the assault and charged with the deputy's murder, since neither Redus nor his truck had been seen since the Monday after Thanksgiving. The prosecutor later set Burrell free due to insufficient evidence, but with the whole county still suspecting him of the crime, his ex-wife refused to let their daughter visit him anymore. "You've got to prove my Daddy didn't kill anybody," second grader Tamantha Burrell tells KWMT-TV's consumer affairs reporter, New York transplant Elizabeth Daniher. "Now wait a minute . . . " the startled journalist begins."You're the 'Helping Out' lady," Tamantha insists. "You have to help me."Until a few months ago, Elizabeth "E.M." Daniher investigated high crimes and national cases. Now, a messy divorce from her network-TV-exec husband, combined with her no-longer-quite-perky-enough sex appeal, has banished her to Wyoming, where she has to fulfill the remainder of her contract. She handles the "Helping Out" segment at Sherman, Wyoming's only news station. Her latest assignment: assisting an elderly woman who wants her faulty toaster replaced. But Tamantha needs her, and so Elizabeth goes back on the crime beat, trying to unravel the mystery of the missing deputy and track down a killer who intends to make sure she doesn't live to go Live At Five with the scoop.
©2012 P.A. McLinn (P)2014 Bell Bridge Books