When a body is found half-submerged in a Waiariki Thermal Land of Enchantment molten mud pot, forensics expert Alexa Glock, her specialty odontology, spots a way to prolong her stay in New Zealand. Her fellowship has ended and no one is waiting for her to return to the States. Men have never been her expertise, but teeth are. Other ways of identifying the body may have... melted away.
A determined Alexa barrels her way onto the scene and into the lives of Rotorua's finest, especially Detective Inspector Bruce Horne. There's something about his glacial blue eyes that gets under never-married Alexa's skin, even though she's sworn off men. Danger lurks in "the land of the long white cloud."
The murder victim, a city councilman, had trespassed on a sacred island forbidden to Pakeha, or non-Maori, and Alexa must follow suit. The Maori community is incensed that the rules of tapu have been disregarded and the consequences are disaster, demonic possession, or death. Say what? Alexa doesn't believe in these three D's, but when she discovers an unorthodox death threat in her rented riverside Trout Cottage, she reconsiders. A second murder heats the case to the boiling point and reveals a molten mix of motives and suspects.
At the heart of Molten Mud Murder is an age old debate: is the past better left undisturbed, or unearthed? And at what cost either way? Sara E. Johnson's debut novel, the start of a series based in New Zealand, presents a page-turning story of facing the past and cracking the door open to an unexpected future.