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By Lee Chappel
Expected pub date September 2021
Complex characters and an intricate plot lift Chappel’s excellent mystery, featuring Detective Sam Ellis. A years-old rape case piques the newly appointed Detective Ellis’s curiosity after Kara Peterson, the victim, arrives in the town for her father’s funeral arrangements and becomes the target of a series of threatening incidents. As Ellis begins to look into the case, she realizes things are not as they seem on the surface, and Kara is keeping her own secrets hidden. The stakes rise after two heart-attack deaths in the town point to a deeper conspiracy. Soon, Kara is pushed to her limit. Ellis must uncover the sinister conspiracy before the time runs out for Kara. Themes of obsession, madness, and betrayal fuel the emotionally impacting mystery. Chappel excels at characterization and basic human psychology. Kara, with her fears and vulnerabilities makes for a memorable protagonist. Her existential agony as a rape victim is palpable throughout the narrative. Cody Muller, Bev, and Brent Thomas are equally convincing. Die-hard fans of finely crafted procedurals will be pleased to make Detective Ellis’s acquaintance. Immensely satisfying in both the intricate plot and complexity of characters, the novel is sure to wow mystery lovers.