Adding to Madeline’s already overflowing plate, the D.A. informs her that Rick Yeoman, one of the men who had abducted her three years earlier, has been prematurely released from prison after cutting a deal with the Feds. Besides fearing reprisals from the man she helped to convict, his parole also triggers the reappearance of soulless Lionel Usherwood, lured out of his hideaway by the call of revenge. When Yeoman’s body surfaces in Lake Cachuma, Usherwood moves on to the next target: Madeline.
Madeline hasn't resolved the effects of being abducted, her husband's duplicity and murder, or her own vulnerability. One effect was her getting training as a private investigator and in self-defense. Although she and Mike have opened the PI agency, she still maintains her event coordinator business. As the times gets closer for the 40th birthday for an obnoxious client who has gone over the top, Madeline is asked to look into the disappearance of some jewels, without telling anyone. Add to that stress, the unexpected release of Lionel Usherwood, the man who abducted and terrorized her three years before. And he's leaving a trail of bodies, Madeline's unnerved, and Mike is concerned for her safety.
There's an element of the closed room mystery here, with comings and goings recorded to the murder scene. The jewelry issue is murky and may or may not be related. The threat of Usherwood is evident as other possible loose ends are eliminated. There is tension and conflict across the board. It keeps the story moving and the reader reading. This is the second in the Madeline Dawkins Mystery. It can be read as a stand alone. I read it as a stand alone. I'd recommend you read the first one first to be grounded in the Usherwood part of the story.