Boyer's competent debut follows the outspoken, lonely Rita Vargas, who obsesses over preserving her old family junkyard and open desert land in the face of Santa Fe's relentless suburban sprawl. She fills up her empty hours by reading books and welding steel. The unusual junk art created by her adult son, Parker, decorates the junkyard. Nearby, Joe Oakes, 39, renovates houses with his girlfriend, Chloe, who also runs an upscale art gallery. They decide to erect their dream house on the scenic hill behind Rita's junkyard and the book's main conflict takes shape. Soon, however, Joe needs to establish a subdivision on the hilltop to stave off certain bankruptcy; to do it, he must skirt a building code restriction. The hilltop seller and an unscrupulous city official collude to approve Joe's submitted plan. The antagonists aren't quite sharp, but Boyer deftly dramatizes Western land development, with its ominous impact on small family landowners, and offers vibrant depictions of the threatened natural desertscape.