Bauer delivers an emotional ride readers won’t soon forget. The novel’s setting, a small village where everyone knows everyone, is reminiscent of a cozy mystery, but the story is anything but cozy. There’s a murder to be solved, but it’s the characters who grab center stage, not the investigation. The story easily holds the reader’s attention from start to end, but the somewhat slow pace keeps this very good book from being a great read. This thoughtful tale concludes with a staggering punch.
When Margaret Priddy is murdered, some think it’s a blessing. She was a quadriplegic, unable to even speak. This could be a mercy killing or perhaps it’s the act of someone who resents the cost of her care. Cop Jonas Holly wants to find out, but detectives from a neighboring town take over. Being shut out of the case embitters Holly because the local people are looking to him to make things right. Stress piles on as he cares for his chronically ill wife, whom he loves dearly, particularly when more people are killed. (SIMON AND SCHUSTER, May, 256 pp., $15.00)