On a very hot morning in Southern California, Tim Ryder brings his coffee out to the front porch. Before he can take a sip, he sees the dead body of a young man laid out on his lawn. Neither Tim nor his wife, Deirdre, has ever seen the man before, but the youth's death stirs up unhappy memories of the lives they were living twenty years earlier.
Up to this point, they had done a good job of leaving behind their troubled pasts. Deirdre overcame her drug addiction and now worked in a clinic helping other addicts to climb out of their private hells.
Tim was just a college student when he and his friends were led astray by an older man named Turret. They thought they were protesting the Vietnam War, but Turret was manipulating them in order to rob a local bank. The attempt went awry and both Turret and Tim ended up in jail. Tim's sentence was considerably shorter since he accepted a deal and testified against Turret.
When a detective shows up at Tim's house, all these years later, and tells him that Turret has just been released from prison, Tim is certain that the dead body on his lawn is some kind of revenge. And maybe it's only the beginning. Tim is determined to learn who the boy is, and, in turn, what else Turret has planned. But his search will require more of him than he ever imagined.
Since its beginning, the St. Martin's Press/Malice Domestic Contest has succeeded in discovering many amazing new mystery authors. Stephen Santogrossi joins that long, proud tradition with A Stranger Lies There, the prologue to what will surely be more excellent mysteries.