Hardback edition 1997, St. Martin’s Press, New York
The Midwest Book Review
"An intriguing who-done-it . . . Brilliant insight into geology".
The Armchair Detective
" Well-drawn characters and a complex plot set Mother Nature above the rest of the pack. Add Sarah Andrews’s name to your short reading list. You won’t be sorry".
Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine
"Mother Nature again proves that geology makes a fascinating canvas for murder".
The Sonoma County Independent
"An especially entertaining read".
"In this third Emily Hansen mystery, the geologist and amateur sleuth is asked by a California senator to look into the murder of his daughter, also a geologist.
Although there is nothing particularly original about the plot—traditional whodunnit fare—readers will enjoy the way the story builds to a conclusion that should be predictable but, owing to Andrews’ storytelling skill, comes as a complete surprise. (Andrews has a knack for distracting readers just when they may be getting close to figuring things out.)
The most enjoyable part of this series is Hansen herself, an extremely appealing young woman who’d rather be practicing geology than solving homicides. She narrates the story with an irresistible mixture of humor and old-fashioned suspense. An ideal mystery for readers who value strong characters more than elaborate plotting".
"The unfashionable, but fascinating area of Santa Rosa, California, is the setting for Sarah Andrews’s third book about oil geologist Em Hansen, who finds more dead bodies than oil.
Hansen comes to this flat basin of industry, agriculture, and occasional floods to probe the death of a young woman—daughter of a U.S. Senator—who seems to have turned over one too many rocks in her work as an environmental consultant. As in her two previous books about Em (Tensleep and A Fall in Denver), Andrews maintains a laudable balance between her main character’s personal life and her down-and-dirty working life".
"Against her better judgment, professional geologist Emily Hansen—broke and unemployed—accepts a less-than-ideal job when a U.S. senator sends her to Santa Rosa, California, to investigate his daughter Janet’s death.
What at first seems like a straightforward case gets more confusing and more dangerous as Em deals with employees at Janet’s old job, her close-mouthed friends, and the increasingly hard-to-get-hold-of senator".
"A complex and engaging mystery. Andrews brilliantly describes this part of California with its flat, straight country roads bordered by deep ditches that underscore the relentless threat of flooding.
Snappy dialog and fully realized characters, especially the immensely appealing Em, turn the world of geology into a fascinating background for murder".