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Broken Places: A Rachel Goddard Mystery (Rachel Goddard Mysteries) Paperback – February 1, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Near the start of Parshall's excellent third Rachel Goddard mystery (after 2007's Disturbing the Dead), the Mason County, Va., veterinarian witnesses an argument between newspaper publisher Cam Taylor, who's desperate for money to save his paper, and popular cartoonist Ben Hern (aka Cuban-American artist Benicio Hernandez), who won't give him any, at Ben's mansion. On the drive home, Rachel spots Cam's abandoned car in the road, pulls over, hears gunshots, and finds Cam dead in the woods. Later, Cam's house burns down with a woman's bullet-ridden body inside, initially identified as Cam's wife. Another shooting victim; the arrival of the clingy ex-girlfriend of Rachel's love interest, deputy sheriff Tom Bridger; and the disappearance of Ben's mother raise the stakes. Rachel and her vet assistant, Holly Turner, must take care not to become a frantic killer's next victims in a suspenseful tale distinguished by its sharp prose. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Buried secrets are at the heart of this third mystery featuring veterinarian Rachel Goddard (following The Heat of the Moon, 2006, and Disturbing the Dead, 2007). Celebrity cartoonist and children’s author Ben Hern, a newcomer to rural Mason County in southwestern Virginia, has a secret that makes him vulnerable to blackmail by local do-gooder Cam Taylor. That makes Ben a prime suspect when Rachel finds Cam’s body with a bullet in it. On the same morning, Cam’s house burns down, and his wife Meredith’s body is found in the ashes. Then Rachel and her housemate, Holly, are nearly asphyxiated, and the Taylors’ nearest neighbor is murdered. Chief deputy sheriff Tom Bridger, whose relationship with Rachel is threatened by the return of his scheming first love, Lindsay Taylor, must look deep into the past to find the key to the killings and to unearth the most deeply buried secret of all. Parshall again makes the most of the rural-community milieu in this worthy addition to her series. --Michele Leber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The Taylors came to Mason County in the 1960s with the Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program, making friends and enemies with their activism. No one expected them to stay once their one-year commitment was up, but stay they did, eventually buying the local newspaper. Cam irritated people anyway, but his aggressive desire to keep the failing paper afloat earned him a lead lunch, and may have led to his wife’s death. Stumbling over Cam’s body puts Rachel and her young assistant, Holly, in danger, because everyone in town thinks they can identify the killer.
Rachel and Sheriff Tom Bridger’s fledgling relationship is tested by the return of Lindsay, the Taylor’s scheming daughter and Tom’s previous girlfriend. Maybe Lindsay is there to bury her parents, maybe she’s there to monkey wrench in Rachel and Tom’s relationship. Rachel’s childhood friend, Ben Hern (aka Benicio Hernandez), the son of one of the other VISTA volunteers, is the prime suspect in the murders. Ben is hiding things, Rachel is hiding things, Lindsay’s trying to make it look like the Sheriff is hiding things ...
I’m generally a cozy reader, but I got hooked on this suspenseful mystery series from the very first book. The books tackle complicated issues (death, race relations, family, poverty, animal care) in a very readable way, no preaching, just good story-telling. The characters are well-developed, the dialogue interesting, and Rachel’s backstory keeps me coming back for more. I figured out who dunnit in this book 3 at about the same time as Rachel did, and I enjoy that. I like to be carried along by the story and the interaction of the characters, rather than being hit over the head early on by who the evildoer is. I highly recommend this series. Note: They are best read in order, because each one builds on the previous one.
Characters are so real you can picture them as if in real life. Plot is so good I was on the edge of my seat and rapid reading. I though the ending would be one way when, surprise, it twisted into something I just did not have figured and I loved the ending!
I can see from skimming through the rest of the Rachel Goddard series that I will be reading more of Ms. Parshall's books.
Don't miss out.
NOTE: There is some swearing for those of you who don't like that.
What I didn't care for in this book was that there was very little Rachel and a lot of Tom. I did not really care for Tom personally. I thought he was odd and I couldn't stand the "relationship" aspect with him & Rachel. I thought he was very immature. I can't even believe Rachel liked a guy like this. By the end of the book I would have said adios amigo (although it does explain why he had such a long relationship with his prior witch of a girlfriend). I don't think he is such a good judge of character.
So far after reading two of the books in this series I will say that if you don't like men that are just plain odd then you might want to pass. I thought the first boyfriend was kind of odd but Tom has him beat by spades. One minute he loves Rachel the next he thinks she is lying to him, etc. I cannot stand these kinds of "love" stories in a book. It drives me nuts. Why would you be with someone if you thought they were lying to you? Why would you be with someone when you couldn't even trust them when they are a cop doing their job? Although I do agree with Rachel on that side, Tom did seem to jump to conclusions without much thought or evidence. Guess if I want a romance in my books I want one where the characters act like adults and not like immature teens. Not only that but the way he blew Rachel off when she told him what Lindsey was doing was unbelievable. I would have dumped his sorry butt immediately.
If you like mysteries please let me warn you that this series is a rather slow moving one. There is a romance (if you could call it that) aspect which takes up a lot of space. Even though this book is not described as a "cozy" mystery I think it leans far more to this than a thriller or one that makes you want to keep reading all night until you find out who the murder is.
I have not decided whether to invest any more time on this series. Perhaps this one was just not my cup of tea. It could also be that I just don't care for Tom and that made it less enjoyable. I see that Tom is in the rest of the books so that makes it hard for me to decide to read any more as well.
I will say that if you like slow meandering mystery books with little description on the gore side with a romance aspect then you will probably like this series.