Shallow Graves by Christina Wolfer

Shallow Graves by Christina Wolfer
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (185 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Be Careful What Secrets You Dig Up

When a young girl’s body is discovered in a shallow grave on a farm outside of Ripley, Ohio, FBI Agent Kendal McNally returns to her estranged hometown to investigate. The similarities to another murder on the same farm seventeen years earlier is unnerving, not to mention the fact that she helped put her best friend’s father behind bars for the crime. Her search for the truth puts her in the middle of a serial killer’s graveyard.

Reed Harvey’s life was turned upside down when his father was convicted of murder. It didn’t help that Kendal had been the key witness in the trial or that she turned her back on him and their friendship. Now she has returned to investigate another murder, living in an apartment above his restaurant and making him remember what almost was.

Despite their pasts, Kendal and Reed turn to each other as Kendal’s investigation unravels a web of lies in a town where everyone thought they knew everyone’s business. And when another girl goes missing, Kendal will unearth a devastating secret that may put an end to the murders—except one. Hers.

Can Kendal right the wrongs of the past?

Kendal is definitely a tough heroine. After escaping a physically and emotionally abusive father, Kendal built a successful career as an FBI agent. She never dreamed she go back to her hometown on a case she’s personally connected too. Her homecoming to Ripley is very awkward, especially given her father’s position in the community. All of their interactions are toxic and prone to exploding into scary confrontations. In addition to facing her father, Kendal also comes face to face with her former best friend and first love, Reed.

Kendal and Reed are beyond damaged by their pasts. I couldn’t help but mourn the loss of their innocence and how wonderful their budding young romance might have been. Kendal and Reed constantly doubt the other’s motivations. They have spent years keeping people at arm’s length. Kendal in particular seems to be obsessed with never letting anyone see her as weak. While I understand that Kendal and Reed have had to be strong to overcome the challenges they’ve faced in life, they just don’t seem to know when to quit. They are so busy trying to protect themselves that they fail to see the damage they do to each other. It is frustrating to watch them together because it is clear that they have strong feelings for each other, but refuse to admit it. As I read, I couldn’t help but think that one honest conversation would work wonders for the couple. Even though the road to their happy ending is going to be bumpy, I think it will all be worth it in the end.

I must say that Ms. Wolfer knows how to write a good suspense. The pacing in Shallow Graves is excellent, and I could hardly put the book down once I started it. It is difficult to figure out who the murderer is because there are several plausible suspects. The ending is well done and very satisfying. Although I must say there is still a bit of a loose end where Kendal’s father is concerned. I would really have liked to see him pay for some of the terrible things he’s done. However, I can safely assure readers that his life will never be the same now that his secrets are out.

Shallow Graves is a thoroughly enjoyable book. The characters are well rounded and the pacing kept me on the edge of my seat. I highly recommend it to fans of romantic suspense.

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