After a messy divorce, DC writer Della Kincaid moved to Laurel Falls, NC and bought a failing general store. With the help of the former owner’s developmentally challenged son, Vester ‘Abit’ Bradshaw, she gets it up and running, and is beginning to slowly become an almost accepted part of the community. Then, while out walking one day, she finds the body of a young woman and her world starts to come apart at the seams. The sheriff calls it suicide, but she’s not so sure. When she and Abit start to snoop, things get even dicier.
A Life for a Life is the first of Lynda McDaniel’s Appalachian Mountain mysteries, and it’s a keeper. Told alternately from Della and Abit’s points of view, it walks and then runs through North Carolina’s mountains and small towns at a not-so-leisurely pace that will leave you breathless. The author has an eye and ear for her subject—locale and people—that will plunge you into the scene in a big way.
A series to watch for. I received a complimentary copy of this book. I give it four stars.
If you’ve read Lynda McDaniel’s Appalachian Mountain mystery trilogy, you’ll enjoy her prequel, which gives the back stories of Vester Junior ‘Abit’ Bradshaw and Della Kincaid. Waiting For You is a short read, spanning the years 1981 to 1983, giving the background on Abit, resident of the small North Carolina mountain town of Laurel Falls, and Della, a free lance writer from Washington, DC. Abit is a bit slow, so his father takes him out of school because he decides that it’s a ‘waste of time,’ leaving Abit nothing to do but sit in a chair outside his father’s general store and watch the world go by. Della, recently divorced, is tiring of being the ghoul friend, who finds herself writing nothing but stories about the darker side of life, and is coping with the suicide of her best friend.
The two stories proceed side-by-side, independent of each other, but moving inexorably toward an encounter between the two when Della decides to see ‘in the flesh’ an area she’s previously written about through long-distance research.
There’s no mystery here—after all, it’s a prequel, right—but it will still grab and hold your interest. If you’ve not read the trilogy, Waiting For You will only make your introduction to the trilogy all the more pleasurable.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Like the trilogy, it is masterfully written, and despite being short, packed with profound insights into the human condition. Don’t miss it. Oh, and I give it five stars.