Change never comes easy, but it comes just the same, and it's on its way to the Park, to Niniltna, in southeast Alaska. This time it concerns the possibility of drilling for oil in a wildlife preserve near there, near Aleutian P.I. Kate Shugak's home territory. Battle lines are drawn across their community, but at least it gives Kate something to do. Still just months after her lover's violent death, though she doesn't know quite how, she is trying to get back into her daily life.
First, tensions run high as their resident park ranger, Dan O'Brien, is deemed "too green for them" by management and asked to take early retirement. Kate rallies the troops inside the Park to fight for his job, but before she can really start throwing her weight around, a long-time Park resident is brutally murdered, another stabbed and left for dead as well.
Alaska State Trooper Jim Chopin enlists Kate to help investigate, and together they tackle the loose ends: motive, timing, opportunity, means. One thing is for certain-in Dana Stabenow's masterful crime novels about the beauty and the danger of living and dying in Alaska, nothing is as simple as it seems.