Things are great for LAPD Lieutenant Franco; she’s sober, loved, eligible for retirement – and bored absolutely out of her mind. When her squad is called out to investigate a decades old homicide Frank happily volunteers to “get out of Dodge” and follow the clues north to a small town in the Salinas Valley. There, the evidence unexpectedly leads Frank into the untamed wilderness of the Santa Lucia Mountains where she confronts the victim’s daughter, “Sal” Saladino. A recluse with uncanny healing abilities, Sal seems as much a part of the landscape as the enigmatic peaks and canyons that Frank finds herself increasingly drawn too. Returning again and again to Sal’s remote cabin, ostensibly to discuss the investigation, Frank delves deeper into the land’s secrets and her own burgeoning talents. Sal reveals new mysteries with each visit, and with each visit Frank is called upon to rely on instinct over logic, and to trust the ancient counsel in the hold of her bone over modern reason. But how far can Frank trust Sal on this journey into the unknown when Sal might well be the best suspect in her case?
Baxter Clare earned a Master’s degree in Biology at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and promptly turned her hand to writing. A practicing wildlife biologist, she lives in central California with her wife, dogs, cats, and chickens. Baxter Clare is a Lambda Literary Award Finalist.