Why would anyone bludgeon to death a pretty, well-liked athlete and honor student in the weight room of her school? Anchor Property and Casualty Insurance Company needs the answer to that question because Anchor insures Central High School. When seventeen-year-old Becky Hall is found murdered, Dan Brennan of Anchor’s Liability Claims division are assigned to investigate the murder in order to determine if the school’s negligence contributed to Becky’s death. While murders cases are not common at Anchor, Dan is an experienced investigator who usually dispatches his files with nonchalance and little emotional involvement. He is an ordinary man, just a guy from New Jersey trying to do his job. As he sets off on his investigation, he is much more interested in his boss, the lovely, cool, somewhat mysterious Kate Moreland, than in who killed Becky Hall.
The more familiar he becomes with Becky’s life, though, the more he wants to find her killer. Befriended by a local police officer, Dan joins actively in the search for the facts, sifting through the lives of the small circle of people around Becky Hall – her friends, boyfriend, teachers, parents, and sister. Investigating liability and trying to save Anchor from paying damages become secondary to uncovering the truth. What he doesn’t realize is that his deepening probe into the murder puts him and those close to him in danger. Ultimately, his search brings violence – and nearly death – to a child that he loves. The threat to Dan seems to draw Kate closer, but he is never quite able to reach her.
As he struggles through this case, Dan will face evil and fanaticism and violence, and he’ll find his way back from them, not heroically, just the best way he can. In a shocking conclusion, Dan finds himself questioning his own ability to resist the brutality that threatens to pull him in.
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