Title: Shuntoll Road
Author: Leslie Wheeler
Subgenre: Amateur sleuth
What’s best about it:
- The relationships among the residents of New Nottingham.
- All parts of the story have multiple layers.
- Neither the pro-development nor the anti-development factions are portrayed as flawless heroes.
- The story behind the title.
- The romance.
- The plot centers on environmental issues.
Find out more about it: https://lesliewheeler.com/series/berkshire-hilltown-mysteries/
Kathryn’s fulfilling career in Boston complicates her romance with Earl, whose roots run deep in his small rural town in western Massachusetts. When Kathryn visits him for two weeks, she’s hoping the time together will heal their relationship after a tragedy almost tore it apart months ago. Instead, their differences surface.
Someone has bought Kathryn’s rental home, and he’s not only planning to develop the land surrounding it, he’s violating the terms of her lease. But Earl doesn’t share her anger because he needs the job the builder offers him. Kathryn’s closest friend, a woman who moved to the Berkshires from New York City years ago, doesn’t support her, either. Her marriage is showing ugly cracks in its once-perfect facade. Is this an omen of Kathryn’s future life with Earl?
As Kathryn tries to save the forest she has grown to love, the stakes suddenly turn deadly. How much will she risk for what she believes is right?
Nothing is as simple as it seems in this multi-layered novel. Even the land itself has its contradictions. The Berkshires’ carefree tourist attractions exist side by side with the complex, intertwined relationships of the residents in its rural towns. Friends and lovers keep secrets from each other. Marriages have rough spots, and sometimes heroism is a disguise for something more sinister. Yet, this book also highlights the kindnesses we perform for each other without thinking twice and the support a close-knit community provides.
Oh, right—the plot! Shuntoll Road lays the groundwork, piece by careful piece, showing motives and personalities so well that when the action exploded, I was as confused about whodunnit as Kathryn. I appreciated how the story, without being gory, showed the effects of the violence on the locals and their relationships. Finally, the climax sent me flying through the pages, hoping that the people I felt I knew would make it through unscathed.
I highly recommend this to you if you appreciate well-drawn characters and settings that complement a well-crafted plot.
Other adult mysteries I’ve reviewed include TILLING THE TRUTH Book Review TWO BITES TOO MANY Book Review OWL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS Book Review A DEATH AT TIPPITT POND Book Review CLIFF HANGER Book Review