When Talmine, Virginia offered San Diego Homicide Detective Stephen MacKinnon the position of police chief, he and his wife crime analyst Victoria jumped at the opportunity to start fresh away from the murder scene. Stephen also has the added bonus that he is a Civil War buff and battlefields surround the Tidewater area.
In his second year on the job, Stephen is enjoying the role of a Union officer in a reenactment of the Battle of Talmine, which never actually occurred. However, his pleasure ends just as he leads his squad into battle when one of his officers tells him a dead woman has been found in nearby Crumper's Woods. To contain the crime scene Stephen halts the festivities over the angry objection of Mayor Dumfries. He realizes the female victim was killed before the reenactment began and that something is wrong with the locale. Sharpsburg, Maryland Detective David Benham arrives and admits he should have checked in first but is under orders to keep his investigation involving a stolen Robert E Lee "Lost Order" quiet. Meanwhile Stephen with his wife's help follows the clues while the Mayor threatens to fire him.
ECHOES OF THE LOST ORDER is a terrific police procedural, which is at its best when the chief investigates the homicide with the help of his spouse while local politics hamper his efforts. An added fresh bonus is that Stephen and Victoria have no monster size personal issues and love one anther. Though an "epilogue" involving Mayor Dumfries seems unnecessary in spite of avarice ruling political decisions, sub-genre fans will enjoy the former big city detective working the small town case.