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Disturbing the Dead (Rachel Goddard Mysteries) Paperback – May 15, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
In Parshall's dark, suspenseful second novel (after 2006's Heat of the Moon), Mason County, Va., sheriff's deputy Tom Bridger reopens a cold case that his predecessor—his deceased father, John—never fully closed. Ten years earlier, Pauline McClure, a Melungeon woman (of Portuguese and Native American descent) went missing, and when Tom unearths her bones, he discovers she died of an ax blow to her skull. Pauline had married into a snobbish, wealthy white family, and the reopening of her case pits local Melungeons against the white establishment. Additional tension arises when Tom's romantic interest, veterinarian Rachel Goddard (the heroine of Heat of the Moon), hires and befriends Pauline's teenage niece, Holly Turner, whose connection to the tragedy puts her and Rachel in danger. Both Tom, who's of half Melungeon heritage, and Rachel, who's a recent transplant to Mason County, hoped to leave behind their respective recent violent pasts. Instead, they're drawn into the center of a lethal, gothic drama. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Tom Bridger, a Melungeon (mixed race) police detective who left his rural community to escape prejudice against his people, returns home due to a family tragedy and begins work as a deputy sheriff. When the bones of a Melungeon woman are found in a remote mountainous area, evidence points to an old murder case that Tom's father investigated when he was sheriff. Tom's investigation uncovers numerous family secrets along with some uncomfortable revelations about his father. Meanwhile, Tom begins a romance with veterinarian Rachel Goddard, the star of Parshall's earlier novel, The Heat of the Moon (2006), who is struggling to rebuild her life in a new location and finds herself involved in the investigation after befriending Holly, the dead woman's niece. Parshall effectively captures the atmosphere of a closed rural community and weaves a compelling plot that will appeal to mainstream mystery readers. Barbara Bibel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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It seems like a whole story is missing. And this was definitely not a Rachel mystery. It is Tom's.
This time around, Rachel Goddard's moved her veterinary practice to the mountains of southwestern Virginia, hoping to escape the violence she left behind. Fat chance. When Rachel befriends the niece of a woman whose decades-old skull is found on a remote mountaintop, she's up to her feisty neck in a decades-old murder investigation and sidestepping the advances of Tom Bridger, the sheriff's deputy in charge of the case.
Tom's a Melungeon -- and a special feature of this book is a look inside that community, a racially mixed people of Appalachia who are "tri-racial isolates" -- a mixture of white, Native American, and black.
Disturbing the Dead has a complex plot, fascinating characters, plus lots of suspense and lots of heart.