When a young girl’s body is discovered in a shallow grave on a farm outside of Ripley, Ohio, FBI Agent Kendal McNally returns to her estranged hometown to investigate. The similarities to another murder on the same farm seventeen years earlier is unnerving, not to mention the fact that she helped put her best friend’s father behind bars for the crime. Her search for the truth puts her in the middle of a serial killer’s graveyard.
Reed Harvey’s life was turned upside down when his father was convicted of murder. It didn’t help that Kendal had been the key witness in the trial or that she turned her back on him and their friendship. Now she has returned to investigate another murder, living in an apartment above his restaurant and making him remember what almost was.
Despite their pasts, Kendal and Reed turn to each other as Kendal’s investigation unravels a web of lies in a town where everyone thought they knew everyone’s business. And when another girl goes missing, Kendal will unearth a devastating secret that may put an end to the murders—except one.
Available at: All Romance eBooks
RATING: 5 Stars
If you enjoy romantic suspense, are interested in how behavioral analysis works into murder investigation, and/or simply like an intriguing murder mystery, I can definitely recommend ‘Shallow Graves’, because it blends all of these together tightly and skillfully.
Kendal McNally, an investigator and behavioral analyst for the FBI, reluctantly returns to her small hometown in Ohio, when the murder of a small girl is discovered, with circumstances very similar to another murder that occurred seventeen years earlier. The much younger Kendal provided the testimony that sent the father of her good friend Reed Harvey to prison for that murder. It didn’t just ruin their friendship, it destroyed Kendal’s young life, and in the end, sent her away from her home. Now, for the first time, she’s back, and as the case she’s investigating turns out to be the work of a serial killer, Reed and Kendal find themselves growing close again.
Wolfer builds this mystery very carefully, and with considerable skill. The possibilities, and the fear, keep growing. Could it be a copycat killer? If not, although Kendal was honest, could she have sent the wrong man to prison? How many more victims will be found? Adding to the ever-building tension are questions about the suicide of Kendal’s mother, and the obstructive behavior of the local chief of police – who happens to be Kendal’s estranged father. With every chapter, the atmosphere intensifies, and as a reader, I found myself not only trying to figure out who the killer was, but hoping I was right about who the killer wasn’t. And yet, through all of this, the ties between Kendal and Reed pull them closer all the time, both emotionally and sexually, in ways that add to the plot rather than distract you from it.
I have been a devoted fan of romantic suspense/murder mysteries for decades, ever since I first started reading what were then called Gothic Romances, by such gifted authors as Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt. These books were a few steps above most romantic mysteries; as much attention was given to the murder(s), the suspense, and the settings, as to the characters, the romance and whatever sex was included. The tension kept building from the first chapter on, giving the readers a unique feeling of excitement. Well, ‘Shallow Graves’ achieved all of that, and I definitely felt that excitement. This book is well worth 5 stars; actually, I wish I could award it 5.5!
I am very grateful for the reviewer’s copy I was sent.
Reviewed by: Roberta