Murder on the Rocks is set in the red rock country near Sedona, Arizona. The protagonist is Will Johansen, a retired merchant marine captain. He and his wife, Katie, live a pleasant life in beautiful Red Rock Valley. While out walking his dog, a tri-colored collie named Sassie, that peace is shattered. Sassie discovers a dead body in the woods — that of a Forest Service Ranger.
The county sheriff is called, and soon makes the determination that it was a suicide. Will cannot believe that, and gets involved to prove it was murder. His motivation is something that happened to him on his first voyage as captain, many years ago. The memory haunts him, but he thinks if he can help solve the case, the nightmares might go away. Katie doesn’t like it, but puts up with it.
The middle part of the story is filled with suspects, evidence, speculation and altercations. Will recruits a retired FBI agent neighbor to help. He supplies critical expertise. New names go up on the “suspect board” while others come off of it. Will is determined to get it down to one name.