It's a crime scene worthy of Hieronymus Bosch, so shocking and so senseless it challenges the local law and intrigues veteran reporter Geneva Chase whose career may be dying alongside that of her small town newspaper. The Sheffield Post headline shouts, "Cops Call Murder Scene 'Slaughterhouse." On the scene, Genie spurs the Deputy Police Chief to tell her quietly, "Six bodies…all nude…hacked to pieces." Even tough Geneva shivers. How could such a slaughter happen on Connecticut's moneyed Gold Coast? To privileged couples inside a historic 1898 Queen Anne mansion on the shoreline of Long Island Sound? Where is the protection afforded by the gated community and the security technology in place?
For Geneva, battling alcoholism and bad choices, writing this story is the last chance to redeem herself. She's lost every other major news job she's had. Working at her hometown newspaper is the end of the line-there will be nowhere else to go. But ink still flows thick in her veins. Her story on Sheffield's unlikely killing field is the Post's lead, soon picked up by metro papers, and she keeps it, exposing the turbulence beneath the rich and entitleds' secrets, their ability to buy off embarrassments. She's also tracking community connections, watching a hit-and-run case disappear through a large donation, interviewing dangerous suspects, visiting a swingers club, joining cops for a burglary bust, and taking a guided tour to spot history's underwater ghost.
All this despite the distractions of the married man she can't quite ditch and the sweet if shaky love affair she starts with an old high school sweetheart. Can she keep her drinking under control and do her job well enough to keep from getting fired, finish the story, not further screw up her life? And not get killed?
It is hard to believe that this is Kies' DEBUT novel, thanks to its interesting characters and twisting a plot, that really begs the questions, "Do things happen for a reason, or is everything random?" and "Are we really separated by only 1 or 2 degrees from other people?"
At first I wasn't getting into Geneva's character. But by the third chapter, where the crime scene was evolving and Geneva's talent for getting the story was emerging, she began to grow on me. And as she grew on me, so did the plot, to where I was staying up VERY late to finish the book! This is one of those books that offers just enough twists and turns to keep the story VERY believable and close to home. By the time I had finished the book I was hoping for another look at Geneva- maybe a prequel? Who knows, but once you finish this one, you'll be asking yourself the same!
Note: The initial crime scene description can be gory to some, so just a caveat for those that need it. But it is needed as a juxataposition....
About the Author
Currently living on a barrier island on the coast of North Carolina, Thomas Kies has a long career working for newspapers and magazines, primarily in New England and New York. When he's not writing mysteries, Thomas Kies is the President of the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce.