"Dark Signal" by Shannon Baker, Forge Books, 304 pages, $26.99
Kate Fox reluctantly is getting used to the feeling of the .40 caliber Smith and Wesson on her hip when she receives her first 911 call as the newly sworn-in sheriff of Grand County. A brutal train murder is about to disrupt life in the small, laid back town tucked deep in the Nebraska Sandhills.
Still coping with her recent divorce and constantly dodging her meddling family, Fox throws herself into solving the murder of Chad Mills, a well-known local and train engineer.
The word around town is that Mills had the seemingly perfect life; a good job, a loving wife, a beautiful new house. In a community plagued by gossip, rumors and a resistance to change, Fox must decipher who Chad Mills really was, and who would want him dead.
Living in the constant shadow of her ex-husband Ted, the former sheriff of Grand County, Fox tracks a dangerous trail in her quest to solve the brutal murder. An apparent affair and a series of train robberies will lead Fox to many questions where her faith in her own judgment will be continuously questioned.
With the reluctant help of state patrol officer Trey Ridnoir and Fox's own connections with the various, colorful citizens of Grand County, it seems Mills’ killer can only hide for so long among the secluded hills.
"Dark Signal," the second installment in Nebraska author Shannon Baker’s Kate Fox series, not only tells a gripping mystery, but the tale of a woman out to prove herself. Fox must decipher who her real allies are in the town she has called home her entire life, as well as work to claim her own independence from her past.
What troubles caused Chad Mills to lose his head will remain a constant question until the story’s heart-racing conclusion.