Alaska lawyer Maeve Malloy finds herself in trouble again as she faces a disbarment hearing. It stems from a case in the previous book and causes huge concern for her. In Hemlock Needle by Keenan Powell, a friend asks Maeve to find her missing daughter.
Esther Fancyboy walked out of a party during a blizzard and disappeared. Maeve and the boy's grandmother know Esther would never leave her son, Evan, so Maeve is positive something bad happened to her. The police seem uninterested, treating it as another party girl getting herself in trouble, but Esther was a conscientious mother and a hard worker.
When Maeve is called into her mentor Arthur Nelson's office, she is stunned to learn she is being accused of negligence in her previous case. She is also being sued for malpractice by the spouse of someone killed because of the outcome of the case. Maeve is devastated because she has worked so hard to overcome her alcoholism and prove she is worthy of Nelson's belief in her.
Pushing her own issues to the back burner, Maeve sets out on the trail to find Esther. She starts with Esther's work place Neqa, a cooperative of villages in western Alaska, where she meets CEO Xander George. He says Esther worked for Turner International, a sister company. He insists Esther anazlyzed data for a water system project the companies were working on, but he claims he doesn't really know her that well. Annoyed by the brush off, Maeve doubles down on the feeling something is fishy about Xander, Neqa and Turner International.
When Esther's body is found frozen in the snow several days after she disappeared, Maeve's investigation leads her to fraud, deceptive business practices, a murderer and much more. An excellent look at life in Alaska.
Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher.