This is the first book in the Vejay Haskell series. Years ago I read several books in the Julie Smith series and thoroughly enjoyed them.
This book starts with an introduction to the main character and the town in which she lives. I felt that Ms Dunlap did a skilled job of blending the needed background information into the telling of the story. Then gradually all the characters are introduced. And the town is laid out. All very skillfully.
Vejay is an interesting woman: an escapee of the San Francisco pace and pressures. She is now a meter reader for the utility company. She is strong, fit, and attractive.
The plot was well crafted. It took many twists and turns, keeping me interested and engaged. I did not foresee the ending until almost the end of the book. I have a mental formula for evaluating the books I read, from pedestrian/formulaic to intriguing/edge of the seat. An Equal Opportunity Death sneaks up on you; very placid initially, picking up momentum as it goes, much like the ever rising Russian River in the story.
I enjoyed the book and will read others in the series, but there is a BUT… I found Vejay a bit annoying at times. For someone so accomplished and self-reliant, she could be incredibly immature (her opening argument with Frank, the character who is murdered), and ignorant (taking dangerous risks on her own). What is it about smart women that cause them to think they know better than the police in a case? I know, there wouldn’t be a story without Vejay going off on her own. But I know there are other authors who keep suspense alive without the main character acting as ignorantly as Vejay does. (China Bayles, Maisie Dobbs, Maxie of Maxie and Stretch, to name a few) I found myself annoyed with her immaturity or know-it-all attitude to completely immerse myself in the book.
I class this book in the “fun but not profound” category. If you enjoy mysteries and location-linked stories, this one is for you.