Signet, Apr 2009, $7.99
Fifteen years ago in Crow’s Creek, Kansas, a vicious killer decapitated Joleen Donovan and murdered her ten year old son Johnny and seven years old daughter Jennifer. Sixteen year old Allison stepped off the school bus to open the door to the horror of her family slaughtered. She fell into a coma. Her father Hank was arrested and convicted of the homicides.
In the present Widow Allison Clemmins teaches school while raising her twelve years old son Sam alone. She spent a year at a mental hospital where her mind healed by compartmentalizing the tragedy into the forget category and did likewise when her childhood sweetheart died one year after their marriage. However, Hank’s lawyer Seth Walker arrives in town to prove his client never killed anyone and that the real killer remains free. He tries to persuade Allison that her dad is innocent, but she initially ignores his plea for her to look back at what she knows. When the killings start again, Allison wonders whether a new predator is on the loose or could Seth be right.
This is a fast-paced romantic suspense thriller from one of the sub-genre’s top guns (see EVERY MOVE YOU MAKE). The story line hooks the audience with the opening gruesome scene and accelerates once Seth arrives. Although the new killings add incredible layers of suspense, they detract from the overarching premise that the daughter believes her dad is the killer and his lawyer deems otherwise. Filled with numerous suspects who easily could be the Butcher of Crow’s Creek, Carla Cassidy provides an exhilarating tense thriller.