The Man Everybody Was Afraid Of
A small-town Chief of Police with reactionary politics and national ambitions, Ben Orton struck fear in the hearts of anyone who fell out of line in his little fiefdom of La Caleta. Most recently that has included gay rights activists pushing for the hiring of a police officer from their community. When big Ben is found in his backyard bludgeoned to death by a large terracotta pot, the police arrest the outspoken gay owner of a local nursery.
Orton had a life insurance policy that brings death claims investigator Dave Brandstetter north to pry. As far as Dave can tell, the cops did almost nothing to investigate Orton’s death and what evidence they did compile doesn’t seem to add up. Dave quickly learns that the pool of suspects is much deeper than the police reported. Ben Orton may have seen himself as a pillar of the community but what many in La Caleta saw instead was a violent man whose commitment to enforcement didn’t always also include room for the law.
With an ailing father in the hospital and a relationship headed toward the rocks, a very distracted Brandstetter finds himself making more wrong moves than right while those on the other side of the thin blue line are making it painfully obvious his presence is not wanted.