Newly pinned deputy Jolie Murdoch’s first big job as a McIntire County deputy is to locate a missing girl. What Jolie doesn’t expect is to stumble upon a corpse—the girl’s father—with a prime suspect still hanging around. But why would local bartender Xavier Hartmann go off the deep end and bludgeon a man to death?
A former marine, Xavier is barely coping with a traumatic brain injury, and he has no memory of what happened at the crime scene. He came to Eider to confront his past, not get embroiled in a murder as the number one suspect. To make matters worse, as the mystery deepens, Xavier finds himself drawn to the reluctant deputy.
As Jolie fights against mounting pressure to get to the truth, she realizes there’s more to Xavier than meets the eye. But someone is lingering on the fringes, determined to put a stop to her investigation and Xavier’s freedom. Will Jolie do her sworn duty or buck the status quo to give her and Xavier’s newfound passion a chance?
Dark and dangerously edgy story where no one is safe from the suspicion of crimes committed, politics around the sheriff department are stewing, and a rookie cop gets caught between family loyalty, attraction to the suspect of a murder and performing her job.
Jolie is a complex character. She comes off as insecure and hesitant with the job at hands, obviously way over her head with the tasks, yet in the oddest moments, she gets her strength and backbone putting her in peculiar and dangerous spots. Her feud with her father, the former sheriff, and her attraction to Xavier, the man with too many secrets, compromise her with her job in the police force. Her stubborn nature mixed with her determination to solve the cases of missing girls imperil her judgment at times. Yet she pushes on, steadfast to find out what happen, by whom, and why.
Xavier is the man of mystery who creates the aura of secrecy around himself by not disclosing anything, even the trivial matters of his life, to those around him. His TBI with memory loss adds to the enigma, not to mention been found in a compromised setting with a gruesomely murdered man. His quest to find his roots brought him to McIntire County and now the secrets he kept are about to explode on his face.
I'm assuming this story starts right off where the previous book in the series ended, and it feels like you jump in a middle of a tale. The author does a good job explaining the setting and scene in the town for the reader as the tale continues, but I believe it would have been beneficial to start from the beginning with this series. The multitude of secondary characters play a significant role in the development of the investigations to the crimes, and it would have helped to have more knowledge about them to understand the undercurrents with different events.
There's a lot going on in McIntire County and in the story - the missing girls, cruel murders, political issues, the family dramas on two fronts, and a budding romance. The plot is clever and the horrid culprit behind the crimes stays aptly hidden until the very end. The crimes committed are wrapped up yet some of the family issues are left wide open and unresolved. The narrative is good and has some interesting twists in it, keeping the tension alive and the need to find out what happens next viable.
A twisted tale of brutal and atrocious crimes that gets the town in an uproar, prompting other issues in the precinct, and families, to boil over and cause scenes.
~ Three Spoons
Winter Austin perpetually answers the question: “were you born in the winter?” with a flat “nope.” Having returned to her hometown, Winter has stepped into the chaotic world of a full-time wife, mom, author, and employee.
A lifelong Mid-West gal, Winter rediscovered her love of her beloved Iowa with its hot summers and snowy winters. She grew up listening to the captivating stories told by relatives around the table or a campfire. Since becoming a published author, she learned a mindset of a glass half-empty personality makes for a perfect suspense/thriller author. Taking her ability to verbally spin a vivid and detailed story, Winter translated that into writing deadly romantic thrillers. Combining her love of all things rural, agricultural, and military, she’s turned her small town life upside down.
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