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Stillwater (Jack McBride Series #1)
     

Stillwater (Jack McBride Series #1)

4.5 14
by Melissa Lenhardt
 

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Big secrets run deep.

Former FBI agent Jack McBride took the job as Chief of Police for Stillwater, Texas, to start a new life with his teenage son, Ethan, away from the suspicions that surrounded his wife’s disappearance a year earlier.

With a low crime rate and a five-man police force, he expected it to be a nice, easy gig; hot checks, traffic

Overview

Big secrets run deep.

Former FBI agent Jack McBride took the job as Chief of Police for Stillwater, Texas, to start a new life with his teenage son, Ethan, away from the suspicions that surrounded his wife’s disappearance a year earlier.

With a low crime rate and a five-man police force, he expected it to be a nice, easy gig; hot checks, traffic violations, some drugs, occasional domestic disturbances, and petty theft. Instead, within a week he is investigating a staged murder-suicide, uncovering a decades’ old skeleton buried in the woods, and managing the first crime wave in thirty years.

For help navigating his unfamiliar, small-town surroundings, Jack turns to Ellie Martin, one of the most respected women in town—her scandal-filled past notwithstanding. Despite Jack's murky marriage status and the disapproval of Ethan and the town, they are immediately drawn to each other.

As Jack and Ellie struggle with their budding relationship, they unearth shattering secrets long buried and discover the two cases Jack is working, though fifty years apart, share a surprising connection that will rattle the town to its core.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/31/2015
Fans of romantic mysteries will appreciate Lenhardt's sentimental debut, the first in a series starring Jack McBride, a former FBI agent. Having left the Bureau under a cloud, Jack has moved to Stillwater, Tex., with his 13-year-old son, Ethan, to become the small town's police chief. On Jack's first day on the job, he must deal with the murder/suicide of a married couple. Or are the killings actually a disguised double murder? Meanwhile, Ethan suffers through his first day at school while pained from not knowing why his mother didn't also relocate to Stillwater. When Jack later flirts with Ellie Martin, the bank manager he meets about his financial arrangements, Ellie is initially alarmed, but then she flirts back, as Jack ponders how soft and silky her hair appears. Ethan's difficulties in making new friends, assorted domestic tensions between Ethan and Jack, and Jack's dogged wooing of Ellie overshadow Jack's crime-solving efforts. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
Named Debut of the Month (November 2015) by Library Journal

(*) "Seeking to get away from his soon-to-be-ex-wife and his disintegrating career with the FBI, Jack McBride moves to the small east Texas town of Stillwater with his son, Ethan. Unfortunately, on his first day as the new police chief, there is a double homicide at a trailer park; Rosa and Gilberto were hardworking but undocumented laborers who may or may not have uncovered something worth killing for. Then another body is uncovered, buried for more than 50 years under a tree down by the creek. Something is definitely rotten in Stillwater. VERDICT: A finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest, this debut crime novel, spanning decades of Stillwater’s history, features an ingenious plot and a complicated protagonist with inner depths worth plumbing. Readers who miss Donald Harstad will appreciate this well-done police procedural, which is also a good choice for fans of Terry Shames’s “Samuel Craddock” mysteries, Lee Martin’s “Deb Ralston” series, or Tricia Fields’s “Josie Gray” novels." —Library Journal, starred review

"With a twisting plot, nonstop action, and a sexy, complex protagonist you’ll root for from page one, Lenhardt brings the town of Stillwater, Texas (pop. 2,436), and all its long-buried secrets, to life. Fast-paced and tightly-written, Stillwater is a must-read for anyone who loves great crime fiction. Book two can’t come soon enough!" —Wendy Tyson, author of Killer Image and Deadly Assets

"Stillwater runs deep with intrigue, passion, and long-buried secrets. Melissa Lenhardt weaves a rich tale of suspense as hot as the east Texas town in which it's set." —Annette Dashofy, USA Today bestselling author of the Zoe Chambers mysteries

"Small-town loyalties and long-simmering secrets combine for a compelling page-turner! A fish-out-of-water lawman and his adolescent son try to escape the past in not-so-cozy Stillwater, Texas—but soon they're battling corruption, revenge, and murder. Fast-paced dialogue, an authentic setting, and engaging characters—Stillwater is a one-sitting read." —Hank Phillippi Ryan, award-winning author of Truth Be Told

"Crisp and pacy writing pulls you in deep from page one, when Jack McBride strides into a crime scene and a world of trouble. Stillwater is the perfect combination of a tightly plotted tale peopled by rich, complex characters (plus one or two deliciously hateful true baddies). Slashed budgets, racial tensions, messy pasts—this small town is anything but cozy. The mystery itself is a classic puzzle, though: clever and convincing. Roll on Jack #2!" —Catriona McPherson, Agatha, Anthony and Macavity–winning author of the Edgar-nominated The Day She Died

"Dangerous things lurk beneath the placid surface in Stillwater, Texas. Secrets shunning the light of day, decades-old betrayals, lies that have taken on a life of their own. Moody and atmospheric, utterly compelling, you don’t want to miss Melissa Lenhardt's marvelous debut novel." —Harry Hunsicker, former executive vice president of the Mystery Writers of America, author of The Grid

"Secrets, lies, and betrayals run through Stillwater like irrigation through dry land. Melissa Lenhardt’s writing drips with detail to create a story that rushes like a wave toward an ever-twisting ending. Don’t let the name fool you; Stillwater's threats lie right below the surface." —Diane Vallere, bestselling author of the Material Witness, Madison Night, and Style & Error Mysteries

Library Journal
★ 11/01/2015
Seeking to get away from his soon-to-be-ex-wife and his disintegrating career with the FBI, Jack McBride moves to the small east Texas town of Stillwater with his son, Ethan. Unfortunately, on his first day as the new police chief, there is a double homicide at a trailer park; Rosa and Gilberto were hardworking but undocumented laborers who may or may not have uncovered something worth killing for. Then another body is uncovered, buried for more than 50 years under a tree down by the creek. Something is definitely rotten in Stillwater. VERDICT A finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers' MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest, this debut crime novel, spanning decades of Stillwater's history, features an ingenious plot and a complicated protagonist with inner depths worth plumbing. Readers who miss Donald Harstad will appreciate this well-done police procedural, which is also a good choice for fans of Terry Shames's "Samuel Craddock" mysteries, Lee Martin's "Deb Ralston" series, or Tricia Fields's "Josie Gray" novels.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781634502269
Publisher:
Skyhorse Publishing
Publication date:
10/06/2015
Series:
Jack McBride Series
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
285,473
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Stillwater

A Jack McBride Mystery


By Melissa Lenhardt

Skyhorse Publishing

Copyright © 2015 Melissa Lenhardt
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63450-226-9


CHAPTER 1

Thursday

I


A line of flashing blue and red lights led the way to a pale green singlewide trailer. Firemen, sheriff" deputies, and EMTs huddled in front of the house, talking, looking around, and laughing. All eyes turned to Jack McBride's car as it pulled into the dirt-packed front yard, which doubled as the driveway.

Jack set the alarm on his phone. "Stay in the car," he told his thirteen-year-old son, Ethan. He opened the door, got out, and leaned back in. "I mean it."

"I know, Dad."

Neighbors grouped behind yellow crime-scene tape. Some wore pajamas, others wore work clothes. Women held babies, children craned their necks to see better, eager for information to share at school. A young officer guarded them — Officer Nathan Starling.

It was his file that had fallen from Jack's lap when he was startled awake by the early morning call. If Jack hadn't read Starling was the youngest and newest member of the force, he would have guessed it from his role as crowd control. Starling shifted on his feet and looked over his shoulder at the crowd, as if debating whether he should leave his post to introduce himself or stay put. Jack waved an acknowledgment to him and moved toward the trailer.

Jack nodded at the group of first responders as he walked by and received a couple of muttered hellos in return. Some looked from Jack to Ethan and then back. Jack climbed the uneven concrete steps, stopped at the door, and put on paper booties and gloves. Behind him, he heard a low conversation start back up, the words alone, wife, and no one knows carrying across the yard as if announced through a bullhorn. The screen door slapped shut behind him, cutting off the rest of the conversation.

The smell of chili, paprika, and cumin hung in the air of the trailer. Flimsy wooden cabinets topped with a chipped orange Formica counter were wedged against the back wall of the main room by a strip of ugly, peeling linoleum. Brown shag carpet, flattened by years of traffic, marked off the living area of the room. Left of the door, under a loud window unit dripping condensation, sat a couch of indeterminate color too large for the room. A black-haired man with bloodshot eyes and a green tinge underneath his dark skin sat on the couch, chewing his nails. He looked up at Jack and stopped chewing — a signal for his leg to start bouncing. A bull-necked police officer, his thumbs crooked underneath his gun belt, stood guard over the man.

"Officer Freeman," Jack said.

If Michael Freeman was surprised Jack knew who he was, he didn't show it. His face remained expressionless.

"Chief McBride."

A third officer stood at the mouth of the hallway to the right with a portly, elderly man. Relief washed over the officer's face. He moved forward, hand outstretched. "Chief McBride," he said. "Miner Jesson. This here is Doc Poole."

Jack shook their hands. "Sorry to meet you under these circumstances, Dr. Poole."

"Helluva case to get on your first day, eh?" the doctor said.

Jack nodded and gave a brief smile. He pulled gloves and more paper booties from his coat pocket and handed them to Jesson and the doctor. Jack walked down the hall and entered the room. Jesson stopped at the door.

"Gilberto and Rosa Ramos," Jesson said. "Found dead this morning by Diego Vasquez." He jerked his thumb in the direction of the man sitting on the couch. "Says he's Rosa's brother. He don't speak much English, but from what I gathered, he came to pick Gilberto up for work and heard the baby screaming. When no one answered, he let himself in. Door was open. Found them just like that."

They were both nude. The woman lay face down, covering half of the man's body. The right side of the man's head was blown across the pillow. Blood and brain matter were sprayed across the bed, under the woman and onto the floor. A clump of long dark hair was stuck to the window with blood. Her right arm extended across the man's chest, a gun held lightly in her grip.

Jack walked around the bed.

Doc Poole stood next to Officer Jesson. "It takes a special kind of anger to kill someone you are in the middle of fucking, doncha think?" Doc Poole said. "Ever see that in the F-B-I?" Derision dripped from every letter.

Jack ignored him. "Where's the baby?"

Jack hoped the revulsion on Jesson's face meant scenes like this were rare in Stillwater. If he had wanted to deal with shit like this on a regular basis, he would have taken a better-paying job in a larger town.

"Officer Jesson?" Jack said. "Where's the baby?"

"Oh. It's with a neighbor."

"Has anyone called CPS?"

"Why?"

"To take care of the baby."

"The neighbor offered."

"And what do we know about this neighbor?"

He shrugged. "She didn't speak much English."

"So, she could be in the next county by now?"

"Oh, I doubt that," Jesson said. "She seemed like a nice sort. Very motherly."

Jack cocked his head and puzzled over whether his most senior officer was ignorant, naïve, or an amazing judge of character.

He turned his attention to Doc Poole. "What's the time of death?" "Sometime last night."

"Can you be more specific?"

"Didn't see the need. Seems pretty obvious what happened."

"Oh, are you a detective?"

"No. I'm a general practitioner."

"You're the JP, aren't you?"

"No. I used to be." He chuckled. "Too old for this now."

"Yet, here you arc."

"JP is on the way, Chief," Jesson said.

Jack kept his focus on Doctor Poole. "So you heard this over the radio and decided to come? Or did someone call you?"

"Well, I —"

"Do you have the instruments necessary to establish a time of death?"

"Not with me, but —"

"Then get off my crime scene."

The little man straightened his shoulders and lifted his chin. "I can see why Jane Maxwell liked you." He started to leave but turned back. "We do things different here in Stillwater."

"Not anymore we don't," Jack said.

Jesson watched in slack-jawed astonishment as Doc Poole walked away. Jack waited for him to explain what the man had been doing there or to contradict Jack kicking him off the scene. Instead, Jesson snapped on his left glove and stepped into the room.

"Ever seen anything like this, Officer Jesson?"

"Call me Miner." He shook his head. "Don't get many murders here."

Thank God. "Assuming this is a murder-suicide, like it looks," Jack said. "What else do you see?"

Miner stepped toward the bed, turned green, swallowed. Stepped back. "Nice gun. Beretta M92. Preferred by military wannabes and veterans. Would've thought the gun'd fallen out of her hand, what with the recoil."

"Me too. Do you know the victims? Ever been in any trouble with the police?"

"I ran their names on the way over. No record of them."

"Which means they're illegal."

"Probably."

"Diego?"

"Says he's new in town. Haven't run him yet, but illegal as well, I imagine."

"But he stayed until you got here anyway?"

Miner nodded.

"Huh." Jack removed his gloves. "Who's responsible for processing the crime scene?"

"For something like this? The county crime-scene tech. Yourke County got a nice mobile unit last year. He's on his way."

"ETA?"

Miner shrugged. "Probably pretty quick. It's only ten miles to Yourkeville. I'm surprised he ain't here."

Jack walked back to the living room. He could feel the vibrations of Diego's bouncing leg through the floor. He motioned for Freeman to come into the hall.

Michael Freeman stared down the witness, freezing the man in place.

He was Jack's height but at least fifty pounds heavier; seven pounds of Kevlar and forty-three of muscle. The short sleeves of his perfectly pressed uniform shirt bunched above his bulging biceps. Miner, by contrast, was so slight of build, his rumpled uniform might have been handed down from a taller, fatter brother. One was prepared for an invasion, one looked like he'd rather be fishing. Their dissimilarities didn't stop there. Freeman's eyes were vacant, neither hostile nor compassionate. Jack knew he would perform any task given him without comment or question. Miner's eyes were large, brown, and in constant motion.

"Freeman, get your crime-scene kit and take pictures. Start in the bedroom. After the tech has processed the scene, search all of the drawers and photograph what's inside. In the closet, under the bed. Everything. While the tech is working, unless he needs your help, photograph the rest of the house and outside."

"Yes, sir." He left.

"Miner, you talk to the neighbors. See if anyone heard anything, what Rosa and Gilbcrto's relationship was like, if they've seen anyone around lately that shouldn't be around."

"All right," he drawled.

"First, find the baby and call CPS. Shouldn't there be another cop here?"

"He quit."

Jack nodded. One fewer person to have to win over and one more thing to add to his to-do list: hire. "Get one of those sheriff's deputies out there to guard the front door.Tell him not to let anyone in this house that isn't properly booted and gloved. I'll talk to Diego."

The man on the couch stood as Jack approached.

Jack motioned for him to sit down. "Hola, Diego. Me llamo es Jack McBride."

"Bueno. Habla espanol?"

"Sí."

The man relaxed, as Jack knew he would. Jack continued in Spanish. "Tell me what happened."

"I came to pick Gilberto up for work. I got to the door, heard the baby screaming, and came in.

"I found the baby in her crib, red faced, like she'd been crying a long time." Diego leaned over, elbows on his knees, and stared at his clasped hands.

"I knew it was bad. If they were in the house, they would not have let Carmen cry like that. I walked to their bedroom. Before I got to the door, I could smell the blood. Tire shit. I didn't want to look, I wish I didn't, but I thought one of them might be okay." He wiped his eyes roughly. The palms of his hands were wet. "I called 911 and waited."

"You did the right thing." Diego nodded his head and stared at the floor. "But," Jack continued, "I have to wonder: why?"

Diego's head jerked up, his expression a mixture of anger and defensiveness. "Because you can't trust us wetbacks to follow the law?"

"No. Because by doing so, you risk being deported if you are here illegally. Officer Jesson seems to think you are. Is he right?"

Diego's leg jiggled.

"Diego, I'm not immigration. I don't care. I'm not about to deport someone who cared so much about his friends, he stayed around to help even when it wasn't in his best interests."

Diego's leg stilled, but his hand found its way to his mouth. He chewed on the outside of this thumb.

"So, why did you stay?"

He removed his thumb, then spit whatever was in his mouth to the floor. Jack tried not to cringe. "That ain't right," Diego said. He returned his finger to his mouth.

"What?"

"Rosa would never kill Gilberto."

"Diego, come on. This happens all the time."

"No, man. My little sister wouldn't do that." He motioned toward the bedroom. "I'm telling you."

"It looks like she did it. People go crazy sometimes, do things that are very out of character."

"You aren't listening to me, vato."

"You aren't saying anything, Diego. Of course you don't think your sister would blow Gilberto's brains out while fucking him and then shoot herself. But you aren't giving me any other reason why this might have happened. Or who might have done it."

Diego glared at him. "I don't know."

"Were Gilberto and Rosa acting normal?"

"Yeah."

"No fights?"

"I didn't see any."

"They have any enemies?"

"How would I know? I've just been here a few days."

"Drugs."

"They take them? No."

"Deal?"

Diego laughed. "No."

"Where are you staying, Diego?"

Diego shifted on the couch and didn't answer.

"You're staying here, aren't you?"

"Yes."

"Where were you last night?"

"I was down the street."

"With who?"

"A girl named Esperanza."

"All night?"

"From about midnight."

Jack sighed. "You know this doesn't look good, Diego."

"When I left, they were still alive."

"When did you get back?"

"About 6:30.1 called the police right away."

And he didn't leave, nor did he try to solidify the murder-suicide theory by saying they were having problems. He went out of his way to say it wasn't possible. He was either incredibly stupid or not guilty.

Jack stood. "All right, Diego."

"Can I go?"

"Where would you go?"

Diego didn't answer.

"Stay here until I get back. Then I'll take you to the station to get your statement."

"I didn't do nothing."

"Then you have nothing to worry about."

Diego looked away. His nervous tics returned in force. Jack didn't think he killed his sister and brother-in-law, but no one with a clear conscience would be so fidgety. He was hiding something.

A sheriff's deputy entered the trailer.

"I'll be back soon. Sit tight," Jack said.

Jack told the deputy to guard Diego as well as the crime scene until he returned. He opened the screen door and stepped outside.

A shaft of sunlight pierced through the clouds and shone across the hood of Jack's car. Ethan sat in the center of the beam, glaring at his father through the windshield.


II

"Are you serious?"

"Come on, Ethan. It isn't that bad."

"You're right. It's horrible."

Jack leaned across Ethan and looked out the window. "It does look like something out of The Walking Dead."

Ethan rolled his eyes and tried not to smile. His dad was not allowed to be funny while Ethan was mad at him. Ethan scowled. "So, what am I supposed to do after school?"

"I'll pick you up this afternoon and we'll talk about it."

"Have you even thought about it?"

Jack's face tightened, his knuckles turned white on the steering wheel. "Yes, Ethan. We'll talk about it after school. I have to go. Have a good day."

There. That was the dad it was easy to be mad at. Ethan jerked open the car door. "Whatever." He slammed it, hoping that his dad could feel his anger. But no. Ethan stood on the empty school sidewalk and watched his dad drive off without a wave.

School or home? A day of trying to make friends with a bunch of country bumpkins or a house full of unopened moving boxes and an empty refrigerator? Two crappy choices. Just like Mom used to give him.

"You can have green beans or broccoli. Which do you choose?"

"I want potatoes."

"You can have green beans or broccoli. Which do you choose?"

"Jesus, Jules. Just let him have potatoes."

Okay, so his dad wasn't all bad. Lately, though, it was his dad giving him the crappy choices, if he even gave him a choice at all.

Ethan looked at the school. It was long, low, and brown, with bushes pruned down to sticks and very little grass. It might look like something from a zombie apocalypse, but it would make a pretty cool picture. Add a couple of filters, get the light just right, and it might even look good. From what Ethan had seen of the town, it was full of run-down buildings like this. That was something. How pathetic that the most exciting thing in his life now was taking pictures of crappy buildings.

Choice number three: grab his camera and explore the town. He put his backpack over both shoulders and started walking in the direction he thought his house was.

Screw Stillwater and Eisenhower Junior High.

He didn't want to be here. This school or this town. His dad never asked Ethan what he wanted. He just came home one day and said he had a new job. Ethan's first reaction was relief. He could get away from all the stupid people who knew the stupid thing he did. Then he'd thought of his mom. Did this mean she wasn't coming back? Did she know where they were? Had something awful happened to her and his dad just hadn't told him?


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Stillwater by Melissa Lenhardt. Copyright © 2015 Melissa Lenhardt. Excerpted by permission of Skyhorse Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author


Melissa Lenhardt writes mystery, historical fiction, and women’s fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in Heater Mystery Magazine, The Western Online, and Christmas Nookies, a holiday romance anthology. Her debut novel, Stillwater, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest. She is a board member of the DFW Writers’ Workshop and vice president of the Sisters in Crime North Dallas Chapter. Melissa lives in Frisco, Texas, with her husband and two sons.

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Stillwater: A Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another fine book from this very talented author!! I am far from a prude, but, it is very refreshing to know a story can be told without every other word being the "F" word and steamy sex scenes every page. This is a book you can leave laying around where kids are. Highly recommend!!! Keep em coming!!!
Anonymous 4 days ago
Great read and I cannot wait to read more from this author
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written, intriguing, can't wait for the next book!
lauralovesreviewingLT More than 1 year ago
Jack McBride has a past. A wife who’s AWOL and a defunct career with the FBI. He leaves all the rumors behind and takes a job as chief of police in the small town of Stillwater, hoping for less crime and more time to devote to his son, Ethan. What Jack doesn’t expect is a staged crime scene of murder/suicide, and a cold case rising from the grave when skeletal remains are uncovered in the woods. No coasting along in this town. He’s neck deep in rumors, gossip, conspiracy, and suspicions. Ethan may be only thirteen years old and labeled a troublemaker, but what I see is a chip off the old block. He has his father’s curiosity, penchant for seeing through the lies, and a natural talent at observing people and scenes. He’s confused about his mother’s disappearance, and angry at his father, always testing him, but he knowsJack loves him and begins to see that as they adjust to their new life. I don’t want to forget Ellie Martin. She grew up in Stillwater and knows everybody and pretty much everything that’s happened there. She’s had a rough life, but she’s moving on, starting her own business and leaving all the bad behind. She hopes. Jack turns to Ellie for help with the towns history and denizens, and is surprised to feel a growing attracting towards her. He can’t seem to stop thinking about her Ellie isn’t wanting anything to do with Jack. He’s big city, she’s small town. He’s got a questionable marriage status and she’s recovering from a really bad one. But, she can’t seem to stop thinking about him either. Hmm, me thinks a romance is happening whether either of them wants it or not. I love those kind. Leads to all kinds of humorous dialogue and situations. Lightens the mood and gives you something more to hope for. I wish I was good at explaining. This book doesn’t have many big action scenes all through it. There’s a lot of meet and greet and following the main characters. getting to know them, learning what makes them tick. It’s compelling. That’s the word. The writing is so good you’re compelled to keep reading. It doesn’t feel slow or boring. It keeps you reading, seeking answers, hoping for what you want to happen to really happen. A solid mystery. Genuine characters. Compelling writing. It all works to give you a great read.
ssudderth More than 1 year ago
It has been a long time since I picked up a modern-day mystery and I'm very glad I picked this one. "Stillwater" is engaging and compelling - an interesting blend of police procedural and Southern storytelling. On the one hand there is a tangled mystery with multiple layers and plenty of clues for the sharp-eyed reader. On the other hand there is a slate of compelling and interesting characters, with many leaping off the page in the manner of a Lee Smith or Jill McCorkle. Jack and Ethan, Ellie and Miner...character after character is given just enough touches to make them feel real without feeling bogged down. All of this is set in a small Texas town so vibrantly drawn that it almost seems to be another character in the story. My only complaints would be that the introduction of the second mystery somewhat dragged events away from the first, leaving both with perhaps not quite enough page time, and that a certain event near the end of the story was a bit too on the nose. However, since a follow-up is in the works, I'll forgive that last one as it provides plenty of potential conflict going in to the next book. And that's another book I'll be picking up when the time comes. Recommended for mystery/police procedural fans and also for fans of Southern fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Simply stated: I loved this book! Melissa Lenhardt's depiction of small town Texas was spot on. I was quickly drawn into the story as it began to twist and turn and kept surprising me. A little romance intertwined with the mystery was delightful. Anxiously waiting for the next book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read. A lot. As a matter of fact, I preordered this book on Amazon and read it in three days. And I'm not easy to please as mystery is my genre of choice. But I have to say, Stillwater was fantastic. Melissa Lenhardt kept pulling surprises out of the plot. She nailed small town Texas without tropes or cliches. The characters were well defined and came alive on the page. (Ethan was my favorite). The only bad thing I have to say about the book is that now I have to wait for the next one!