Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, T.L. Schaefer, for an honest review.
Plot: Sheriff Bill Ashton’s life is good, quiet, until the bodies of five women are discovered in the remote foothills and all hell breaks loose. Then another woman disappears, leaving her estranged sister’s stolen car and half a million in cash behind as their only clues.
Air Force Captain Arden Jones hasn’t spoken to her sister in years, but Samantha’s disappearance galvanizes her, sending her to small-town America in search of the black sheep of the family.
Thrown together by circumstance, Bill and Arden explore Samantha’s disappearance and her probable connection to the murdered women. Neither expects, nor welcomes, the attraction that surges between them, or the fact that setting aside long-held beliefs may be the only way to stop a madman bent on creating the perfect woman, the one true goddess central to the Wiccan religion, Diana.
Opinion: This is the third book I have read by the amazing T.L. Schaefer, and she has once again blessed us with a book with a little bit of everything. Romance, murder, law enforcement men in uniform, and even a psychotic religious crazed serial killer. Ahh…what more could a girl ask for? Just add a glass of red wine to the mix and you’ve got yourself a FINE Thursday night at home all alone with your bad self! Mark my words ladies and gents, this one will get you heated for all sorts of reasons.
Mariposa County had been a quiet place for the past few years for Sheriff Bill Ashton. He had cleaned up the area, lowered crime, and gotten rid of the corruption. But all of that changes when the bodies of five women are found by two teenage boys. As the police department digs deeper into the case, they discover that each body was discarded a year apart from each other with the oldest body being five years old. To make matters worse, another woman has just disappeared after driving through town with her sister’s stolen car and a bag full of cash. As Arden Jones, the sister of the most recent female disappearance, shows up in Mariposa a fire is lit between her and the sheriff. Together they begin to search for answers to the disappearance of Arden’s sister, and the murders that they believe could all be linked.
Now as you all know, I am so NOT a fan of the raunchy sex scenes in books. Reading about people getting their “socks off” just really doesn’t do it for me, and frankly just makes me feel weird on every level. So in warning to the readers that share my opinion, the first couple of pages are just that. BUT, this scene serves a purpose so you kind of need to read it. As for the scene between our air force woman and our law enforcement man, you can skip over that one if necessary like I did. There is also one more at the end (I know there’s a lot) but this one can be skimmed through until the last few sentences as well, so that you don’t get too confused.
If that turned you off from reading this, you need to stop it. Just read the damn book. 😉
One thing I love about this author is that she never fails to give the reader a strong female lead character. In the past two books of hers that I have read, the stars were two headstrong and feisty women who had fantastic careers. I was graced with another strong woman in this book, but I liked that she wasn’t as ferocious as the characters in her other books. She had a strong personality, but I really liked how soft spoken and more reserved she was. As much as I adore a character that will speak her mind, it can grow tiresome after a while. So in this case, the change was welcome. The character of Bill, on the other hand, was a bit dull for me. For some reason I was envisioning an elderly and pudgy sheriff rather than a stud of 35. I enjoyed the morals and tenacity of his character, but the way he spoke and reacted to things just kept bringing my mind back to a visual of an old man. Sad, but true.
I really enjoyed the plot of this entire book though, I love finding a good mystery that has some over-the-top religious or “magical” themes in it. For me, that is a great bonus factor in a book and I am instantly hooked with any read that has those undertones thrown into it. This author has a knack for giving the reader plenty of information, but not enough for them to figure out who the murderer is until fairly far into the book. I think this is a great trait to have in any mystery/thriller because who wants to know how the book ends halfway through reading it?! This keeps the reader wanting to read and read, which is what any author wants when sharing their work with others.
Truth be told, I was a little disappointed with the ending. It felt rushed and thrown together too quickly. What happened to Samantha? Why is everyone okay with how it all turned out?? It’s confusing me to no end! I WANT ANSWERS!! I think for that very purpose, I have to knock my rating down to 3 stars instead of 4. I think the author could have gone a step further in wrapping it up, but that’s just me. I am hoping she writes a sequel to this one, because the not knowing might just kill me. I can almost feel the dark depths of my soul being plagued with a black depressive goo that will eventually take over my mind and motor skills. Then all I will be is a lumpy vegetable on a sofa, with no need to go on in life or read anything else until I can feel complete again!
This might seriously happen guys…
…it really might. 😉