The small village of Valley, is entrapped by a horrible crime, placing all its Citizen’s on red alert. Their Police Chief has been murdered, his eviscerated body found propped up against a cemetery tombstone. Even more mysterious, is that on the back of the monument someone scribbled the three word sentence,Ken Black Knew. Ken has been dead ten years, the victim of a horrific, fiery accident on nearby Storm King Mountain.
Home town girl, attorney Amanda Black, is on her way back to her home town, determined to find some answers to the Chief’s murder, but even more, to investigate the reasons behind her father’s name being used in connection with the murder. Almost home, she stops at a mountain outlook to observe the town of Valley and the changes of ten years.
She notices a large hawk circling in the sky and without warning, the feral bird swoops down attacking Amanda with claws and wings. Frightened, although a fiery attorney, she seeks cover near the observation wall. After some wait, she finds the bird has landed nearby with an apparent note attached to one leg. Carefully, the attorney removes the note and reads.
You are not a wise woman, Amanda Black
Made a bad move coming back
Never too late, my sweet little friend
Get back in your car and begin to wend
Your way back to Maine, and stay real clear
Of all Valley rumors you happen to hear.
I knew you’d stop here
Thus begins an incredible journey of attacks on Amanda and eventually all who are her friends. From her high school sweetheart, the female minister, old friends of her fathers, the new police chief and his troubled girlfriend. Before long, the horrible threats and eventual murders of two more citizens reveal a most unusual predator holding the small town hostage. A twisted tale leads all concerned on a cat and mouse game in the pursuit and eventual capture of a madman, who is a victim himself.
The Valley of Good and Evil is a story with very strong character personalities. It follows several different story lines with a focus on a Satanic group that is rumored to be in the area.
Since the moment Amanda arrives she is threatened and continues getting more threats throughout the story. The longer she stays the more aggravated she gets with the local police force that the case is taking so long to solve.
I felt the writing style was a bit stiff and could have used more casual language, especially during dialogue. The descriptions and steps taken to move the story forward are very procedural and have a strict formality to the language used by all involved. As the characters are all professionals and dealing with a very serious subject matter it was understandable why the story was written in this way, but it left me wanting on a more emotional level.
The novel was a gripping read, I really enjoyed how the story lines ended up coming together and the twist at the end that I never saw coming. The weaving of the stories was very well done with suspense and intrigue.
**** 4 Stars ****
Adult Mystery 312 pages World Castle Publishing (August 5, 2013)