Welcome to charmingly quirky Scumble River, Illinois, where small-town America thrives amid secrets and scandals, and crime and punishment.
In this sixth Scumble River mystery, Denise Swanson's clever protagonist, school psychologist Skye Denison, is busy juggling personal and professional problems -- including opposition in the form of a sleazy stalker and a mixed bag of politicians, irate parents, and more. When Skye came home to Scumble River two years ago, she'd just been fired and jilted, and she was practically broke. These days, her own life is looking up; but it seems like the opposite is true for practically everyone around her. A bunch of the schoolkids in her care have been acting out lately, and there are rumors that juvenile drug use is on the rise, thanks to a new supplier.
A slick developer is trying to talk several local farm families (including Skye's) out of their ancestral acres for his planned Pig-in-a-Poke Land amusement park. And the band Skye booked for the high school Valentine's Day Ball (featuring her drum-playing hairdresser brother, Vince) may not only be on the verge of breaking up but has also just changed its name from Plastic Santa to Pink Elephant -- and changed its music from pop favorites like the Chicken Dance to acid rock. When a fire breaks out at the dance, things rapidly go from bad to worse -- especially after one of the band members is found murdered and Skye's brother becomes the popular favorite as prime suspect. Skye has her work cut out for her if she expects to save Vince from a fate even worse than the music he's been playing lately. Sue Stone