Satan's Lambs

Satan's Lambs

by Lynn Hightower
     
 

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Seven years ago, Lena Padget's brother-in-law, Jeff Hayes, went to jail for the brutal murders of her sister and two-year-old nephew. Bitter that restraining orders couldn't stop bullets, she became a private investigator and advocate for abused women and children whom the police and the legal system neglect. Hayes is out on parole now, and he's looking for Lena. Once… See more details below

Overview

Seven years ago, Lena Padget's brother-in-law, Jeff Hayes, went to jail for the brutal murders of her sister and two-year-old nephew. Bitter that restraining orders couldn't stop bullets, she became a private investigator and advocate for abused women and children whom the police and the legal system neglect. Hayes is out on parole now, and he's looking for Lena. Once a major figure in a brutal cult, he teams up with Archie Valetta, an old business partner who is also fresh from prison. When Archie kidnaps Charlie, his ex-wife's four-year-old son, Eloise Valetta calls Lena for help. A few days later, Archie is found dead - the murder victim of a satanic cult. Charlie has disappeared, but Lena is certain he has been abducted by Jeff's old cult. Lena is taking big risks: a budding romance with her police contact; a dangerous on-line contact with the mysterious cult leader, Mr. Enoch; and the leads from her motley bunch of clients who owe her favors. Even if Lena makes all the right moves, will she be in time to save Charlie?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Woman's intuition takes on the power of Satan in this hokey but entertaining thriller set in Tennessee and Kentucky. Lena Padget's life changed drastically seven years ago, when her brother-in-law, fanatical Satanist Jeff Hayes, brutally murdered her pregnant sister and two-year-old nephew. Determined to protect other vulnerable women, Lena became a private eye, specializing in cases of abuse and endangerment. Jeff, now out on parole, harasses her with menacing phone calls and sinister trinkets left in her home. When his partner, Archie Valetta, is also released, Valetta's ex-wife Eloise fearfully enlists Lena's services; nonetheless, Archie manages to brutalize Eloise and kidnap her four-year-old son Charlie. Lena soon learns that the hardcore, Satanic cult to which Jeff and Archie both belong intends to use Charlie as a human sacrifice--unless she can find him first. Hightower ( Alien Blues ) brings off this improbable plot with more panache than one might expect. Her prose is clear and the pacing break-neck. The emphasis on maternal instinct and feminine intuition is unconvincing, as is the formulaic romantic element. Hightower also fails to bring Jeff to life and thus never makes Satan-worship or its evil practitioners a credible threat. (June)
Library Journal
Seven years ago, Lena Padget's brother-in-law, a member of a hard-core satanic cult, killed his pregnant wife and their two-year-old son. Now he is getting out on parole and is after Lena. At the same time, his partner is also getting out of prison and is threatening his ex-wife. Lena, a private investigator, and policeman friend Joel Mendez try to stop a tragedy in the making. Mixing the terror created by the cult members and the kidnapping of a four-year-old boy who is to be used as a sacrifice, Hightower, author of the futurist police procedural Alien Blues (Ace, 1992), has written a riveting novel of suspense. The Kentucky-Tennessee setting is refreshing, the descriptions of cult practices horrifying, and the events believable. Hightower is a writer of tremendous quality. Literary Guild alternate.-- Jo Ann Vicarel, Cleveland Heights-University Heights P.L., Ohio
Mary Carroll
After the long Branch Davidian drama in Waco, a mystery involving a satanic cult may seem like a tabloid TV rip-off. Hightower, author of futuristic procedurals like "Alien Blues" , treats a sensational subject sensitively, without pandering to hysteria. Whatever their religious inclinations, Jeff Hayes and Archie Valetta would be profoundly nasty fellows: Hayes killed his pregnant wife and son--Kentucky PI Lena Padget's sister and nephew--but got a reduced sentence; Valetta hung with an especially nasty motorcycle gang and was jailed for robbing a bank. When both are paroled, Padget copes with extortion and threats from Hayes while she tries to protect Valetta's ex-wife, Eloise, and her toddler son, Charlie. Soon, however, Eloise is in a hospital emergency room, Valetta is found dead at a roadside motel, and Charlie has disappeared. Padget sets off after the child, assisted by more-than-a-friend Police Sergeant Joel Mendez, other Kentucky and Tennessee law-enforcement pros, several psychiatrists, and her network of friends and ex-clients. Believable characters and an involving plot make "Satan's Lambs" a satisfying read; it's also a Literary Guild alternate, so requests are likely.
Kirkus Reviews
The drive for this suspense grabber set in Kentucky, about the search for a child held by cult creeps, is supplied by the tough, jumpy, compassionate-to-hurting p.i. Lena Padget, specializing in crimes aimed at women and children—ever since her cult-immersed brother-in-law Jeff killed Lena's sister and his own little son. Jeff is now out on parole—and on the prowl—as is another choice ex-con, Archie (robbery and associated arts his specialties). Archie returns to wife Eloise to find his loot. She barely escapes with her life, but Archie runs off with her four-year-old son, Charlie, in spite of Lena's swinging baseball bat. Will Lena find Charlie before there's a cult sacrifice? Partnering Lena is police sergeant Joel Mendez, to whom Lena is attracted even through the grief for her sister (why couldn't the police have come in time?). The pair call in favors and spread the net; Lena interviews a mental patient and former cult member, treks back and forth to Tennessee, where Charlie was last seen, combs woods with a park ranger, and, in the tandem work with Mendez, makes the final guess and call, and has a deadly last laugh. For Hightower's first hardcover: Great talk, heavy action, and, in Lena, a gritty lady with a future.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802712295
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Publication date:
07/28/1993
Series:
Lena Padget Series
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.28(w) x 9.29(h) x 1.02(d)

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