Poisoned Ground by Sandra Parshall

Poisoned Ground by Sandra Parshall
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (287 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

When a powerful development company sets its sights on Mason Country, Virginia, as the location for a sprawling resort for the rich, the locals begin taking sides. Many residents see the resort as economic salvation for the small Blue Ridge Mountains community, while others fear the county will become financially dependent on a predatory company.

Few oppose the development more vocally than veterinarian Rachel Goddard. She sides with locals reluctant to sell their land and, in the process, complicates the life of her new husband, Sheriff Tom Bridger.

When a beloved couple is gunned down on the very farm they refused to sell, it seems supporters will stop at nothing to ensure the success of the resort. Now disagreement in the community has exploded into civil war with both sides lashing out. As the violence escalates, Rachel discovers the attacks are more sinister than they appear.

Can she bring the truth to light before her community tears itself apart?

A big developer wants to set up a sprawling resort for the rich. The community is split between those who don’t want the development and the loss of their land and those in the community who are anticipating new jobs and a better economic situation. Just the arguing is bad enough, but then an older couple is shot to death on their land. Where they going to sell or not? And who would have killed those good people?

Ms. Parshall has written other books in this series, but this is the first I have read. She writes a fluid story with some mystery, plenty of conflict and even a bit of a difference between Rachel and her husband Tom. It’s realistic, quirky, and the actual murderer surprised me. There’s no way I would have expected that. It made the story even more real although it’s fiction.

When Rachel speaks out against the development at a public meeting, the politician supporting it subtly threatens her husband and tells him to keep her quiet. Nobody is going to tell Rachel what to do, but he does mention the problems she causing him. They are both a little standoffish with each other after that discussion.

The search for the killer is getting nowhere and now there are fires and more people getting killed. The more Rachel finds out about the town and the people in it, the more depressed she gets. This quiet little community isn’t really quiet. Who could have imagined all the undercurrents?

The author does a very nice of job of tying all the little pieces together to explain the killer’s motive. This is a complex, sad story that that kept my attention and sounded altogether too true. Actions from the past often haunt the present. Do you have anything you need to be worried about?


  1. Sounds like an exhilarating mystery with an interesting title!

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