From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Fans of Edgar-winner Allyn's Dr. David Westbrook will be thrilled by this first novel to feature his short story hero. The troubled veterinarian has moved to a small town in northern Michigan to start a new life, but his past soon catches up with him. Despite his attempts to lie low, Westbrook rescues a young boy from a well and immediately finds himself in the spotlight, not to mention haunted by the bones he saw while saving the boy. Were the bones from a poacher who disappeared in the 1950s or from Rachel Hayes, a farm woman who vanished in 1871? Enter Megan Keyes, a hard-nosed reporter with her own baggage; Sheriff Wolinski, who can smell an ex-con a mile away; hard-living Uncle Bass, who despised his half-brother, Westbrook's father; Yvonne McCrae, a neighboring rancher who sends shivers up the country doc's spine; and a host of supporting characters, including animals, who complicate Westbrook's already precarious existence. Allyn deftly weaves greed, ambition, action, romance and tragedy in dueling mysteries set 133 years apart. Characters and plot are superior, but Allyn mesmerizes when describing Westbrook and a pack of abused greyhounds. How the vet earns their trust and devotion is poignant and unbelievably heart-wrenching, paralleling his own quest for redemption. Allyn deliver a first-class crime tale; readers will surely hope to see much more of Westbrook in his new, full-length incarnation. FYI:The Westbrook short stories have won the Ellery Queen Readers Award three times.
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On parole after two years in prison for assaulting a police officer, veterinarian Dr. David Westbrook moves to northern Michigan to make a fresh start. One day while renovating his new clinic, Westbrook answers a cry for help and rescues a young boy, in the process discovering the skeleton of a woman, Rachel Hayes, who died in the Great Fire of 1871. After the skeleton is recovered, mysterious fires begin, and a wave of accidents and deaths occur. Because of his past, Westbrook is the chief suspect in the suspicious fires and deaths. To clear himself, Westbrook and reporter Megan Keyes investigate. The prickly Westbrook is a complex character: a man with a past trying to make a new life for himself. The fast-paced story includes a frame of small-town life, a love interest, environmental issues, and touches of the supernatural. Westbrook, who has also appeared in several short stories, has the makings of a strong series hero. Sue O'BrienCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved