Faint sunlight dapples the two figures lying on the ground. The mother cradles her daughter close to her side, a stuffed toy elephant next to them. Leaves from the tall trees fall onto their faces, but neither moves to brush them off.
When a dog walker in a local Virginia park finds the bodies of a mother and daughter, Detective Amanda Steele is first on the scene. Her own daughter has a toy just like the girl’s elephant and seeing the child like this is her worst nightmare come true. Heartbroken, she vows to get justice.
They quickly get an ID-Jill Archer and six-year-old Charlotte were reported missing last week, but interviewing Jill’s husband, Roy, Amanda’s gut tells her he is hiding something. When the autopsy reveals a terrible pattern of bruises, she’s certain that a domestic argument escalated out of control, and tiny Charlotte got caught in the crossfire. But just as Amanda is about to arrest Roy, another grave is found, containing another mother and daughter.
Desperate for a lead, she goes to every place the women could have been targeted, and learns from a concerned ER nurse about Leanne Reilly and her young daughter, Gracie, who haven’t been heard from in a week. Amanda hopes that Leanne has simply left her deadbeat husband, but she’s gripped by the fear that they are the killer’s latest victims. Now every second counts for Amanda to find the family and stop a little girl’s nightmare before it ends in tragedy…
You might know the feeling. You are walking in the park or jogging in the woods and suddenly you find a grave or a body. I seriously don’t know what I would do. I most certainly would be terrified and I honestly don’t know how long it would take to come to my senses again. My first thought would be to run like the wind, but I don’t know whether I would be able to move one single muscle. That’s probably why I don’t walk my dog in the wood or park anymore. 🙂
Thank God there are people who, even though they are devastated too, call the police. They never know what they are going to find exactly. Sometimes the scene can be peaceful even if the worst thing, murder, has happened. Sometimes the scenes are really horrifying. Sometimes there is even more than one person in the grave.
I was really touched by the way the killer arranged the victims. I know he killed them, but he also showed signs of gentleness, maybe even of love. Of course, it does not change the fact two people are dead, but I felt like the killer was not a sadistic or cruel one. It was as there was something more going on than just killing for pleasure.
Detectives Amanda and Trent don’t have a lot of time to dwell on things, because very soon duty calls again. After some serious investigating they find the culprit. But were they able to save his latest victims?
Is it bad to feel sorry in a way for a murderer? Yes, they were wrong in what they were doing, but I sometimes wonder whether there is enough medial staff or services available to help and take care of people with specific needs?
A very good, but sad book. My heart broke and for all the victims, because a killer is often also a victim, but one who is not strong enough to take control and fight his demons? 5 stars
About the author
CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has several continuing fiction series and has many published books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from police procedurals, hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures. Her crime fiction series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining. This led to her adopting the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.
Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.
She currently lives near London, Ontario, Canada with her husband and two beagles.