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Beside the rushing waters of Kettlewell Creek, a lifeless figure rests amidst the rugged rocks, resembling a shattered doll. Strands of long, dark hair veil her face, concealing the tragedy that has befallen her. Detective Josie Quinn arrives at the scene, only to encounter a puzzling enigma—sparse clues and a victim seemingly devoid of foes. Nineteen-year-old Sharon Eddy, cherished by her doting grandmother who raised her, met a cruel fate that reverberates throughout the Denton community, where she dutifully served at the local animal hospital.
The investigation takes a sinister turn when Josie is summoned to the morgue, awaiting the grim revelations of Sharon’s autopsy. To her horror, a searing mark imprinted by a cattle brand on Sharon’s left hip comes into view—a horseshoe pierced by an arrow. Disquieted and trembling, even the composed Medical Examiner Anya Feist lifts her own garment, unveiling an identical branding on her own skin. A decade earlier, Anya fled her hometown after her ill-fated marriage to her high school sweetheart descended into terror.
Yet, in her relentless pursuit, Josie finds no tangible link between Anya’s ex-husband, Vance Hadlee, and the heinous murder. Instead, her search of his ancestral farmland births more questions than answers.
Soon thereafter, another lifeless form is discovered—a young woman draped in a crimson coat, forever laid to rest, her hip bearing the unmistakable hallmark of the branded horseshoe. As Josie edges closer to uncovering the truth, a malevolent presence inches ever nearer to her own doorstep, endangering the lives of those she holds most dear. Can she assemble the fragments of this chilling enigma before the clock ticks away her final chance?