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Judge Portia Devon invites Moriah Dru, Richard Lake and his daughter to Lake Lanier, north of Atlanta, for the Fourth of July weekend. There Dru spots the stern of a missing sailboat. It went down in a storm when the lake was full pool. Four years later, the area is suffering one of the worst droughts in its history, thus revealing the large boat.
Four passengers were aboard the sailboat, last seen docked with the drunken boaters raising hell at the marina's restaurant. Johnny Brown's body was found the next day floating in the no-wake zone; the other three disappeared with the sailboat. Because of their lecherous behavior and wealthy status they had been the topic of gossip ever since. When the sailboat was raised there were no bodies aboard, reinforcing the rumor that Laurant Cocineau and Candice Brown, Johnny's wife, also got rid of Janet Cocineau, Laurant's wife, and fled to Rio, a place they'd clandestinely visited before.
Evangeline, Candace's daughter by her first husband, believes her mother is alive and wants to hire Dru to find her. Dru is a child finder, and Evangeline is a precocious, demanding twelve-year-old, but Dru acquiesces because, by spotting the boat, she feels invested in the case. She'll have help from Lake, an Atlanta police detective.
This twisted tale of jealousy, greed and downright evil takes us from the North Georgia mountains to the wine country of Cape Fear, N. C. where the grapes become part of the wrath.
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