Disgraced former sheriff Patrick Drake is paroled after twelve years in prison and returns home to the small town in Washington state where his life went south and where his son and daughter-in-law still live in the house that used to be his. His son, Bobby, is still embarrassed about the crimes his father committed and the relationship between the two is seriously strained. Still Bobby invites his father to stay with him and his wife while Patrick figures out what to do with the rest of his life and while father and son try to determine what, if any, sort of relationship they might have going forward.
Complicating matters is the fact that Patrick was convicted of a robbery from which the money was never recovered. There's $200,000 out there somewhere, and while Patrick claims he knows nothing about it, some determined people on both sides of the law refuse to believe that and will not let Patrick or his family rest until the money turns up.
In the especially nasty department are two convicts who knew Patrick inside. As an ex-lawman, Patrick was especially vulnerable in prison and "bought" protection by promising to pay off the two once he was released if they would keep him safe inside. They weren't supposed to be out for another ten years or so, but once Patrick is free, the two manage an escape. They are now hot on the trail of Patrick and the money.
At one level, this is a gripping crime novel with plenty of action. But more than anything, it's a story about family and the relationships that exist among family members. Patrick's son, Bobby, has been enormously conflicted ever since his father was accused of the crime. But rather than moving away and attempting to create a new life for himself, he remains in the small town where he grew up. Though now married himself, he continues to live in the house where he was raised, with all of the memories it holds. And if that weren't enough, he has followed in his father's footsteps and is now a deputy sheriff in the department his father betrayed.
Also in the mix is Patrick's own father, who lives a hermit-like existence out in the middle of nowhere, and Bobby's wife, Sheri. Bobby and Sheri have suffered a tragedy of their own; their relationship is troubled as well, and the last thing they need are the emotional complications and the danger that Patrick will bring into their home.
Waite writes beautifully; the characters are expertly created, and the sense of place is overpowering. When I finally pulled this book off the shelf and finally got around to reading it, the sales receipt fell out and I realized that I'd had this book on my TBR shelf since November of 2014. I really wish I'd gotten to it a lot sooner.