Series: Virtue Falls #1
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Publication Date: 09/09/14
My Rating: 5 Stars
Twenty-three years ago, in the isolated coastal town of Virtue Falls, Washington, four year old Elizabeth Banner witnessed her mother’s brutal murder. Elizabeth’s father was convicted of killing Misty and sentenced to prison. Elizabeth was sent to live with relatives, and grew from a solitary child to a beautiful woman with a cool scientific mind and an instinctive distrust of love.
Now Elizabeth is back in Virtue Falls, a geologist like her father, living cautiously, her life guided by logic and facts. But nothing can help her through the emotional chaos that follows the return of her ex-husband, Garik Jacobsen, an FBI agent on probation and tortured by the guilt of his past deeds.
Nor can it help her deal with her father, now stricken with Alzheimer’s and haunted by Misty’s ghost. When a massive earthquake reveals long-concealed secrets, Elizabeth soon discovers her father is innocent. Is the killer still at large, stalking ever closer to the one witness to Misty’s murder? To Elizabeth herself? Elizabeth and Garik investigate, stirring old dark and deadly resentments that could provoke another bloody murder— Elizabeth’s own.
A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Christina Dodd’s VIRTUE FALLS (Virtue Falls #1), is a powerful new series which will blow you away! WOW factor, with a capital W! If you are a fan of suspense, mystery, drama, crime thrillers, and romance – all rolled into one, you will be guaranteed an engaging and satisfying ride!
Prior to reading the ARC, I read the novella, THE LISTENER (0.5 Falls Series) July, 2014, a prequel to VIRTUE FALLS, which sets the stage for this mysterious town founded in 1902, a Vacation Destination on the Washington Coast and Home of the World Famous Virtue Falls Canyon, population 2487.
An intriguing town with quirky and witty characters which gather at the Oceanview Café, where the novella ends with the entrance of beautiful Elizabeth Banner, a respected geologist at age twenty-seven, the girl who watched her father kill her mother, Misty with scissors at age four; however, she has no memory of the event. The body was never found. Her dad was the first on the scene and was charged with the murder. However, he may be innocent and the real killer begins to strike again.
Her father Charles, a gifted scientist who pioneered the study, is now in the Honor Mountain Memory Care Facility after serving his time in prison, now in poor health, and in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, so Elizabeth needs to find answers before he loses all memory.
Natural disasters, earthquakes, and tsunami, plus more occur at the beginning of the book which sends the town into total disarray; however, Elizabeth has waited a lifetime for this event as she lives for her digs, rocks, earthquakes, and tsunamis! After the aftermath, some body parts are discovered which may be her mom.
In addition to the serial killer and murders, there is creepy small town sheriff, Dennis Foster which was on the case years ago, and may be a suspect, or possibly a lover– male or female, one of the other archaeologists, a waitress, someone at the care facility, or a famous artist—a long line of suspects.
As the suspense builds, the fun begins with characters, Irish powerhouse, matriarch Margaret, age ninety-one. She owns and manages the large boutique hotel resort in town. She is quite the character (we all want to be her). She is full of wit and humor and runs the town, Virtue Falls.
She also is the foster mother of former FBI agent, sexy Garik (who also happens to be Elizabeth’s ex-husband). He suffered from an abusive childhood and has been temporarily suspended from FBI due to his temper and outburst, which is not uncovered until towards the end of the book. He is on his way back to check on his ex-wife and foster mother, when he learns of the disaster. Little does he know, he will be leading a murder investigation.
I fell in love with the characters, as Dodd keeps you guessing throughout the book, as to the identity of the real killer. In the meantime the highlight of the novel, is the hot and steamy tension between the sizzling sexy couple, Garik and Elizabeth! Readers will fall in love with Garik, rooting for him and his relationship with Elizabeth, a flawed and much loved couple!
A riveting novel, fast-paced, and action packed suspense thriller will keep you turning well into the wee hours of the morning. With a talented author of over fifty books, I am scratching my head as I read over 300 books a year, and where have I been, as these are my first two books by this author?
So excited I have discovered this newfound author (she has been added to my favorite author list), and cannot wait for the next book in the series. Hopefully we will catch up with this colorful cast of lovable characters, and coastguard commander, Kateri, which left us hanging at the end.
Highly recommend both THE LISTENER and VIRTUE FALLS –a must read series!