From Publishers Weekly
Bookstore owner turned novelist Herman delivers a competent suspense novel that will please fans of police procedurals. After 18 years with the Memphis police, Brill Jessup is almost immediately handed a challenge as new chief of the police force of a small town nestled in the Smoky Mountains. People go missing, one by one, and townsfolk are more than ready to believe that an old legend about vengeful displaced Cherokee accounts for the mystery. Meanwhile Brill's home life is in tatters; she has stayed with her unfaithful husband Kurt for the sake of their daughter but resolutely refuses to forgive despite his remorse. Brill is an intriguing, flawed character and several townspeople supply local color, though the Jessups' neighbors the Masinos seem improbably saintly. A Bible verse about evil forms an epigraph and credibly motivates some action in this police thriller. Some of the exposition is slightly clunky, but on the whole things move along briskly, and the novelist will have readers waiting for the next installment in this trilogy.
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*Starred Review* “Brill” Jessup earned her nickname because of her brilliant detective work during her 18 years in the Memphis Police Department. Now the first female police chief in the sleepy little town of Sophie Trace, Tennessee, Brill needs to build her “street cred” all over again, both with a staff that’s just getting to know her and with a sheriff with a giant ego whose cases sometimes overlap hers. In this faith-based novel, Brill’s husband, Kurt, has had an affair, and she’s not able to forgive him. But Brill has more to worry about than just her marital problems. People are beginning to disappear from Sophie Trace without leaving a clue, and many believe “red shadows,” the ghosts of Cherokees who were forced from their land, are responsible. Herman skillfully builds suspense and twists plotlines, keeping her readers hooked from beginning to end. While the characters in this book are both interesting and three-dimensional, Brill is an especially fascinating blend of tough and vulnerable, the epitome of a woman under great stress, personal and professional. This is the first installment in the Sophie Trace trilogy, and libraries will want all three. --Shelley Mosley