Looking to find harmony, Ella Townes leaves a big Philadelphia college and returns to the mountains where she spent her youth. She quickly makes a friend—Cassidy Ryan, a woman with Down syndrome who is the neighborhood busybody and sister of a very attractive ER doctor whom Ella finds equally charming. Under the watchful eye of Cass, Ella and Reese begin a promising friendship. Then Ella writes a scholarship in memory of a childhood friend who was murdered, and things begin to unravel. The scholarship stirs interest in the cold case, and soon the murderer is maneuvering to protect his secret. After Cass is brutally attacked, Ella and Reese question her. The killer’s identity becomes clear, but after twenty years, is there enough evidence to bring him to justice?
AnnMaree Of Oz on Goodreads wrote:
The characters in this book are well developed. I especially loved Cass, a young woman with Down's syndrome, and the supportive way other characters interacted with her.
The initial unfolding of the mystery certainly kept me reading. However, I felt that the reveal happened much too soon before the end of the book. It was almost as though the author was tired of the story and just wanted to wrap everything up. All in all, I enjoyed the book and plan to give others by Maddox a try.
Jan 06, 2021AnnMaree Of Oz rated it really liked it
A truly gripping mystery! I was on the edge of my seat the entire time trying to figure out 'who dun it'. We get a creepy inner monologue of the killer, throughout, but we don't know exactly WHO until the reveal. The thriller component had me truly seething as the killer is trying to justify his actions and then resolves to protect the secret no matter the cost, even if it means killing an innocent woman with down syndrome. It was shocking and I found myself so engrossed and loathing on this guy for trying to protect his own ass and go after sweet Cass!
The romance is there but secondary to the mystery, and there is some to-and-fro because of the angst involved from that. But it was realistic how the characters of Ella and Reese were affected by the loss of the friend they were both enamoured with at young ages. Seeing them connect over that was touching. Both women are around 42, so it's great to see mature, successful ladies finding love and connecting. I do just wish it was deeper and more involved romantically. I feel like we only just skimmed the surface there.
The addition of Reese's sister, Cass, who has down syndrome was refreshing and also heartening. I feel like we don't see enough people of varying physical and cognitive ability, and I'll always advocate for more representation there. Especially where they are just accepted as who they are and loved, without making a big deal of it, or any having massive issues. Yes her family acknowledges it can be tough, and her parents of 70 worry for her in the event of their passing, but her sister is fully prepared to step up in that event. Overall it's a very positive element, and she isn't seen as a burden and is truly cared for and adored by her sister and parents, and others in the community, at her job etc, which is all an absolute joy to see. <--More of this generally all over, please!
So it makes you particularly caring and protective of her, when you find the killer is targeting her and tries to hurt her. Oh boy was I so mad, I can't remember being so angry at a book and character! Which shows how well the writer is at portraying things with such emotion and sensitivity.
All around a really riveting read with difference.
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