I read this book about 18-Feb-2017. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1998. This note was last modified Thursday, 23-Feb-2017 18:11:10 PST.
This is book 1 of the "Holly Barker" series.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
Origin story for Holly, who ends up chief of police in Orchid Beach very shortly after resigning from the army after a superior she has accused of harassment is acquitted.
The town turns out to be host to a huge drug-industry secret base (disguised as a gated community for billionaires), where they move money through in gold bullion, diamonds, etc.
The outgoing chief is murdered just before she gets there (she was hired to be deputy chief), because he was onto something. He told her he was, but of course not what, and didn't leave any notes that weren't found and disposed of. If you suspect you're in a mystery novel, don't make this mistake!
She chases around, figures it out, and manages to get the FBI in on it, and gets to keep her own criminals for the two murders.
The property ends up with the feds for years, and that becomes part of another later book.