One of my favorite authors is Dennis Lehane. He’s a hard author for many because he goes so deep into the violent and depraved nature of people that most of us are blissfully unaware of. He shines a spotlight on the real boogeymen of the world and we can close the book when we’re done and say, “I’m glad this was just a book” and can go back to our normal lives. I feel like Eric Rickstad is a similar author with similar subject material and he handles it as deftly as Lehane does, although his character Frank Rath doesn’t get quite as much development as say Patrick Kensey, he is adapt at creating fearful monsters, frustrating dead ends and satisfying conclusions.
The book picks up just as the previous book The Silent Girls ended. At the end of that book Rath receives a phone call from his sister’s murderer who has recently been paroled. Over the duration of the call, Preacher (the man who killed his sister) insinuates a few things and also poses a thinly veiled threat towards Rath’s daughter Rachel. The events from the past book and now the very real fear that Preacher is stalking Rachel has her on edge. She’s purchased a gun, she’s taking private lessons, she’s looked up where Preacher is living and has wondered…could neighbors hear gunshots?
While Rachel is walking the line of self-preservation and considering murder, Rath and Detective Test are thrust into a new case involving some more dead girls. But these girls seem to be connected to the previous case that Test and Rath had solved and therefore they must talk to the murderer that they arrested in the last book (I don’t want to go into any details because it comes out of left field in the first book). So I’ll stop talking about plot right now and talk about the fact that Rickstad is so good at having us follow the clues of the case and believing just as fervently as Rath or Test that coincidences can’t be coincidences and that hunches tend to be correct…and then having those things be completely wrong. I absolutely love this because I would assume that most police work has many elements of this. People aren’t going to piece together a multi-layered mystery that expands into Canada without making a few wrong turns in the investigation. I enjoyed that very much, your mileage may vary because it does make the plot meander a bit.
I would definitely read more of Rickstad’s books, I fall for all of his tricks and am looking forward to doing it again soon. And as I wrap up what is a completely positive review of the book, I do have to say that as I was reading I did stop to think about Mandy Patinkin and why he left Criminal Minds,”The biggest public mistake I ever made was that I chose to do Criminal Minds in the first place,” Patinkin said. “I thought it was something very different. I never thought they were going to kill and rape all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year. It was very destructive to my soul and my personality.” I always come back to this after realizing who the victims always tend to be. With that said, I think you’d be surprised with the murderer/murderers and because of that, I have less of an issue with Rickstad’s plo,t but always take issue with the real life brutality that women face at the hands of men daily.