I’m fortunate to be able to get books before they are published through Netgalley. Tumbled Graves by Brenda Chapman is one of those books.
The novel has a creepy beginning that pulls the reader in: Catherine Lockhart is a neighbor of Adele Delaney’s. She and her son go to Adele’s house to find out why Adele and her daughter didn’t turn up at a scheduled play date for their children. She finds the house’s front door open, the breakfast on the table uneaten, Adele’s purse and keys and car are still at the house. Catherine calls the police. The police search and don’t find Adele or her child. They do find the child’s coat and shoes strewn haphazardly in the woods behind their house, along the path that leads to the half-frozen river.
The author expertly takes the reader through the search experience using different points of view, first Catherine’s, then the police investigators, Paul Gundersund’s and Kala Stonechild’s. The characters don’t leap off the page, but do, over time, become likable. Each of the lead investigators have believable flaws, Gundersund – a soon-to-be-ex-wife who is also the chief medical examiner, and Stonechild has a past she would rather not talk about or have anyone find out about.
Every time the reader thinks the story is going in a certain direction there is a twist. I will not disclose these as they are good for the shock value. Each one is believable and leads to the story turning on it’s “head” and going in a different direction. The ending is certainly not predictable at all. There are things the reader is privy to and the detectives are not, but then there are things the reader can not imagine and must discover just as the detectives do.
I give the story 4 out of 5 solid stars. Recommended for people who love mysteries and suspense set in Canada.