As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Algonquin Books, 22 January
2019. ISBN: 978-1-61620677-2 (HB)
Audrey Sutter and Caroline Price first met at university, they couldn’t stand
each other. But given the strange and unfathomable nature of human friendship,
by the time Audrey discovered that her father was dying of cancer and that she
needed to borrow money for a bus trip home, the two girls had become
decided to drive Audrey home and all went well until, about an hour from
Audrey’s home, a couple of louts attacked Audrey at a comfort stop. The girls
escaped, but the road conditions were treacherous, and their car ended up sliding
down a hill and coming to rest overlooking a steep riverbank. They were
never given the chance to escape. Another vehicle came up behind them and
nudged their car over the edge. It fell onto the thin ice covering the
Black Root River. Caroline was drowned. Audrey survived with a
comes round in hospital with two men in the room, her father, Tom Sutter, a
retired Sherriff, and Moran, Tom’s former deputy. Moran is now the
Sherriff in the jurisdiction in which the girls’ accident had happened.
Both men were anxious to know what Audrey could tell them. Audrey had
never liked Moran too well and, though she had enquired, she had never been
told why Moran had stopped being her father’s deputy and moved to another area.
accident revived memories of another death in the same river. A decade earlier
nineteen-year-old Holly Burke had died when she had been hit by a vehicle and
then deliberately left to drown after being thrown into the river whilst she
was still alive. Holly’s death still affected the small community. Her father
Gordon Burke had been in business with the Young family. But when one of the
Young’s sons, Danny, appeared to be the only sensible suspect for Holly’s
murder, the links were broken. Danny had been in the right place at the right
time, but Audrey’s father, who had been Sherriff at the time, could find no
proof that Danny had killed Holly. Ten years later a bitter Gordon Burke still
blamed Tom Sutter for that failure. Danny left town and rarely returned,
leaving his twin brother, Marky - a lovely character who whilst mentally
challenged is far from daft - and their mother Rachel to look out for each other
wants to know who killed Holly and Caroline, and she wants justice for
them. So does her father, though he soon dies of a heart attack.
Regardless of the danger to herself, a grieving and still frail Audrey
perseveres with her investigations into what happened ten years ago and what
has happened more recently - including the probable silencing of Danny Young.
Moran seems anxious to help but Audrey places more trust in Gordon Burke and
the current Sherriff.
This is a
beautifully portrayed, captivating story that encompasses so many aspects of
everyday life - grief, justice - or the lack of it, friendship, families and
the decent, caring, human love that may be found in a small community where
everybody knows everybody else. Its characters fit their backgrounds so
perfectly that it hardly needs dialogue to confirm their attitudes to the
constant mingling of past and present troubles. Marky might not be as sharp as
his colleagues, but he loves Danny. Quietly, he attempts to deliver justice for
Danny by tackling the source of the darkness that has blighted their community
for a decade or more.
I have no
hesitation in recommending this story to anyone who would enjoy a thoughtful,
well–written, suspenseful, refreshingly different book that follows its own
path as it goes seamlessly forwards at its own flawless pace.
is the author of the novel Descent, a
short story collection Irish Girl,
and the Young Adult novel Never So Green.
Tim's stories have also appeared in New England Review, New Letters, The Iowa
Review, The Missouri Review, Double Take, Best Life Magazine, and Narrative
Magazine, among others. He holds degrees from the University of Iowa and the
University of Massachusetts, Amhers. He currently teaches in the Creative
Writing Program at the University of Memphis.
On Twitter: @TJohnstonWriter
Angela Crowtheris a
retired scientist. She has published many scientific papers but, as yet,
no crime fiction. In her spare time Angela belongs to a Handbell Ringing
group, goes country dancing and enjoys listening to music, particularly the
operas of Verdi and Wagner.