By Valerie Geary
Sam and her younger sister, Ollie, have a lot to adjust to since their mother’s death. Sam is trying to deal with her own grief, and Ollie has gone silent since her mother’s death. To make things more confusing, Ollie believes she is seeing spirits or “Shimmerings” as she calls them.
The girls are sent to live with their father. Bear is reclusive, living in a teepee in the woods at the edge of town. Many question his ways and whether he can raise children in such an unusual way. However, Bear tries to be a good father. Gentle and attentive, he teaches the girls about nature, beekeeping, and simple living. The girls become as protective of him as he is of them. This family love and commitment will be put to a harsh test.
One hot summer day, the girls find a dead woman’s body in Crooked River near their homestead. With the recent death of their mother too raw, they decide not to tell anyone. Then evidence begins to mount that their father may somehow be involved.
Sam sets out on a mission to seek justice and prove that Bear is not involved. Searching for the killer, she uncovers secrets that will change everything for her entire family. Her pursuit for the truth will also jeopardize the safety of both herself and Ollie. Everything that Sam thought she could count on comes into question.
Both Sam and Ollie are easy characters to care about, immediately drawing the reader into their story. The writing is direct and flows nicely, quickly pulling the reader along as Sam solves the mystery of Crooked River.
I enjoyed Valerie Geary’s debut novel, and will definitely be looking for future stories by her.