An Unsettled Grave

An Unsettled Grave

by Bernard Schaffer


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Crackling with authenticity and haunting glimpses into the criminal mind, Bernard Schaffer's brilliantly chilling second installment in the series Lee Child calls "tense, fast and excellent" digs deep into the past—and the haunted psyches—of the detectives who search for truth at any cost.

There's a thousand scavengers in these woods."

Before being promoted to detective, Carrie Santero was given a rare glimpse into the mind of a killer. Through her mentor, Jacob Rein—a seasoned manhunter whose gift for plumbing the depths of madness nearly drove him over the brink—she was able to help capture one of the most depraved serial killers in the country. Now, the discovery of a small human foot buried in the Pennsylvania woods will lead her to a decades-old cold case—and the darkest secrets of her mentor's youth.

"Nobody trusts an animal that tries to eat its own kind."

Thirty years ago, a young girl went missing. A police officer was murdered. Another committed suicide. The lives of everyone involved would never be the same. For three agonizing decades, Jacob Rein has yearned for the truth. But when Detective Carrie Santero begins digging up new evidence, she discovers some answers come with shattering consequences.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496717252
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 07/30/2019
Series: A Santero and Rein Thriller Series , #2
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 469,028
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Bernard Schaffer is an author, full-time police detective, and father of two. As a twenty-year veteran police officer, he's a court recognized narcotics expert, a graduate of the prestigious Top Gun Undercover Law Enforcement Training Program, child forensic interviewer, and possesses a Class A certification in the use of wiretaps. A child actor, Schaffer appeared in multiple television commercials, performances at the Walnut Street Theater (where his picture still hangs in one of the upper, darker corners), Saturday Night Live, and the Nickelodeon series Don't Just Sit There. Schaffer is the author of multiple independently published books and series, including Superbia, Grendel Unit, Guns of Seneca 6, and more. A die-hard supporter of the Philadelphia Union, he is proud to say that he's never been ejected from a game. Yet. Visit him online at

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An Unsettled Grave 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
mwilliams0922 2 days ago
This is the second book I have read by Bernard Schaffer and I look forward to many more! His books can be graphic and keep you on the edge of your seat! I do not feel anyone would be disappointed with his books! An Unsettled Grave is second in a series but it can also be a stand alone. I do recommend reading them all so you don't miss out!
RobinLovesReading 2 days ago
In this second book in this series by Bernard Schaffer, Carrie Santero is a full-fledged detective after solving an incredibly vile case. Carrie then worked with a former detective, Jacob Rein, who remains her mentor, even though he is highly disillusioned and really down on his luck. The case Carrie is working on is a cold one. A foot was found, and it looks like it might belong to a young girl who went missing thirty years ago. At first Carrie approaches Jacob for help, and then realizes she must head to a small town. In so doing, Jacob's past is unearthed. Carrie learns all about a young boy, J.D. Rein, and discovers the connection the little girl lost so many years ago. Carrie leaves no stone unturned, and reveals some disturbing and shattering evidence. Discovering a connection between Jacob and the formerly missing girl raised a lot of questions. However, Carrie showed remarkable integrity and ingenuity in solving this case. Even though An Unsettled Grave is the second book in a series, it does remarkably well as a standalone. However, I did read the first book, The Thief of All Light, first as I wanted to become familiar with the primary characters. I generally read books in one sitting, including both of these, back-to-back. I was thoroughly entertained, even with the often gritty delivery as things played out. I admire the writing style of Bernard Schaffer. His brilliance and honesty in the sometimes less-than-perfect police force shines. Another effective thing in this book was the determination showed by Carrie. I like how her character is written, and also how her past shaped her into the person she is now. I look forward to following this series in the future. Many thanks to Kensington Publishing and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.
Anonymous 9 days ago
Everyone has a past, something that you'd rather not share with anyone. A story that should stay untold. Bernard Schaffer has given us another story with his well defined, well developed cast of characters. As they work together to solve the current crimes, one of them will be exposed when our heroine digs into a cold case that could be connected. The story is VERY good, plan on reading all afternoon and evening when you pick this one up.
CapriciousNiteOwl 14 days ago
5 Shining Detective Stars/5!! “An Unsettled Grave” is a crime fiction novel that kept me on the edge of my seat all the way till the end. I just loved everything about it! The well-developed characters, the never dull plot, and the captivating and descriptive writing. Bernard Schaffer is a master at writing crime stories and I am looking forward to reading more of his books. Thank you NetGalley, Kensington Publishing, and the author, talented Bernard Schaffer, for giving me an opportunity to read an ARC copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Militarymom98 17 days ago
I wish I good give this 10 stars. n Unsettled GraveThis is the second book of the series by the new and talented writer Bernard Schaefer. Highly recommend both books An Unsettled Grave! and the first one The Thief of all Light. The best thing is you can read the 2nd book without reading the first. NOT RECOMMENDED, From the minute you open the first book, you are completely engaged! The anticipation of getting the second book was almost unbearable. As soon as I opened it, I didn't move for the first 15 chapters. From the first page to the last it's like you never missed a beat. I felt like I was there, part of the investigation as well as sitting on the outside with the anticipation of what's going to happen next. Absolutely love all the characters in the book but Detective Carrie Santero, Ollie and JD were my favorites. Watching Carrie become an investigator that she's always dreamt of is like watching your own child succeed. JD, the brave little boy who was bullied by classmates and was compelled to lock himself in his room when he was at home to protect himself from his father a Vietnam vet who suffers from PTSD and was a major alcoholic. As if that's not bad enough to lose his first crush/love with no rhyme or reason. Ollie (Police Chief Oliver Rein), just an all-around good guy, he signed up to protect and serve and that's exactly what he did until the end, especially of his nephew JD. This series has been written so well that you feel like you're not only there but you're growing alongside the characters, participating and trying to solve these crimes alongside them. Every time you think you've hit a dead-end, another chapter tells a completely different story. Will the family of the little innocent girl Hope Pugh, get answers... why was there baby murdered in such a brutal way? Will Carrie push somebody too hard and end up dead like others? Are the rest of the cops good or were they on the take? I'm trying so hard not to tell all These stories our heart-pounding, thrilling, suspenseful stories that have a twist with each page you turn. The best part is it's written by a real-life Detective. People don't realize when you're in police work, especially detectives you're learning the ins-and-outs, what the predators think how they react along with what everybody else sees from the outside. I read on some reviews that the author was a former police officer. Clarification...Bernard Schaffer is very much an active and veteran Police Detective. He is compassionate and professional and never gives up. Once his mind is set on something, you can pretty much be assured he'll get results This is why I believe his books are so fantastic and a must-read. I can't wait for the next one. Maybe you should Google Bernard Schaefer, Cold Case (38 years later, husband charged in murder) Militarymom98 (Paula Burns)
S13P 18 days ago
Boom!!! This is how it is done! What a amazing book, it is beautifully written, descriptive and a absolute page turner. I read this book in 5 hours, I couldn't put it down. A new case and a cold case mixed together, with some side cases as well. This is how you write a crime book. This was put together perfectly, it flows and wraps around it self and the reveal was something else. I didn't realize this was part of a series, I will definitely have to go buy the first book, and the there if there is one. I would follow Mr. Schaffer anywhere. I can't recommend this one enough, if you like crime books, a little thriller it's so good.
brf1948 18 days ago
I have thoroughly enjoyed Carrie Santero and Jacob Rein. An Unsettled Grave is the second in this series but is stand alone. This is a complex plot well concealed, a police procedural that takes place in the scarcely populated area where Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio come together. Lines for jurisdiction are vague, towns are tiny, and the farm-driven economy keeps everyone close to home. Sharing personnel, equipment, and blame across county boundaries and even state lines is the accepted norm. Carrie is a new recruit in the Vieira County detectives working under the aegis of the District Attorney's office. She is young, and female - the first in this position - and it is hard for the older residents and lawmen to accept that she got this rank, this job, on merit. She knows along with the learning curve there is also going to be the necessity to prove her worth in order to acquire respect. Low man on the totem pole, she is into her fourth straight week on-call when she is sent to the neighboring town's hospital in the dark hours of the morning to handle a rape case, the perpetrator believed by the victim to be a policeman. She has made little headway on that case when a group of hunters finds the skeletal foot of a child and all Fire and Police personnel are involved in a search of the forested mountainside for the rest of the remains. Almost everyone is certain these are the bones of Hope Pugh, a 12-year-old girl who disappeared thirty years ago, the same week two of the towns lost their Chiefs of Police. And the disappearance of Hope is closer to the heart of the wide-spread communities than it first appears. Basically everyone still around is a potential suspect. That grouping would also include several of their men in blue. Even Jacob Rein. I loved the little asides and snippets of police lore and even some unfortunate realities of the job included in this fine novel. Because he is on the job, there is an authenticity to this novel that shines through the work, but whatever the genre, Bernard Schaffer writes a finely honed tale that grabs your mind and involves your humanity in a way I found excellent. There is a reality here that you do not often find in this genre. I am pleased to recommend this work to friends and family. Schaffer is an author I will follow. I received a free electronic copy of this police procedural from Netgalley, Bernard Schaffer, and Kensington Books. Thank you all, for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work.
diane92345 19 days ago
Monica was stopped by a policeman on a lonely country road late one night. Then she was raped by the policeman. Carrie, the sole female county detective, is dispatched to handle the case. When she ruffles the local police force by asking for “voluntary” DNA swabs, Carrie is reassigned to a new case by her politically motivated Chief in An Unsettled Grave. Old bones of a child are dug up by a hunting dog in the rural Liston-Patterson, Pennsylvania. Hope was twelve years old in 1981 when she went missing. As the only child that age unaccounted for in the small town, the bones are likely hers. When Carrie finds evidence of the crime overlooked at the time in old case files, she decides to solve the crime. The town’s police chief just wants to provide closure for the parents—not reopen old wounds. Carrie also learns of the deaths of both of the town’s police chiefs within a day of Hope’s disappearance. Is it a coincidence? Carrie thinks not and so also investigates those deaths, labeled at the time as a suicide and a shooting by a motorcycle gang. An Unsettled Grave is unsettling but it is also an exceptional police procedural. It flashes back to 1981 to show the reader what happened while alternating with how Carrie is using evidence to prove it today almost forty years later. You can tell it was written by a former police officer. Carrie is frustrated by politics and apathy making her job more difficult. The story has larger themes too. Post-Traumatic Stress from the Vietnam War is almost another character in the novel. It impacts two major characters from 1981 resulting in divergent methods to handle it back in the “real world”. Bullying is described in both the present and 1981. While the story ties into the previous book in the series, this book can easily be read as a standalone. If you love police procedurals, you must read An Unsettled Grave. It is not only my favorite police procedural this year but of all time! It is a gritty and authentic take on police work and a great mystery to boot. 5 stars! Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
agnes-shap 20 days ago
Once you start this book do not plan to do anything else except read. This was an ARC from the author and NetGalley and I just loved it. Believe the hype. I love detective stories and this one starts with a woman getting stopped by a police car (or is it?) and being attacked; then there is Hope Pugh who went missing, then a suicide (or was it?) and then there is a town that completely throws me off since you don't know who to trust...even the police. There are so many characters and they intertwine with each other. And then there's Det. Santero who will straighten it all out for us. Because secrets are not forever. Release date coming July 30, 2019; place on your TBR list now.
ReadbyRed 20 days ago
Carrie Santero is a tough, hard-working, female cop, moving up in the ranks as she serves and protects. When she is brought in to help out with a rape case, she finds herself involved in a much bigger crime: a cold-case murder. With her strong desire to see justice done, and with some help from her friend Jacob, she does everything possible, including almost setting a hotel room on fire, to unlock to mystery of what happened to little Hope Pugh back in 1981. Bernard Schaffer does a great job interweaving the past with the present to create a complete and eventful story. The characters are easily liked (and disliked), and many are very sympathetic, especially Jacob. He is my favorite, hands down. Overall I enjoyed An Unsettled Grave; this won’t be the last book by Bernard Schaffer that I read. Thank you to Bernard Schaffer and NetGalley for a digital arc of An Unsettled Grave in exchange for an honest review.
Kittylou 21 days ago
I voluntarily read an advanced copy of the book provided by Kensington publishing the author and Netgalley. This is the second of the Santero & Rein myster/thriller series (first being the riveting Thief of All Light!) And I hope not the last! It does read well as a stand-alone. I love the writing style of Author Bernard Schaffer! His writing grabbed me from the first paragraph and it just flows like music! He has the ability to know when to add light banter between his characters, that takes the edge off some of the gritty police business. His characters are well written and easy to identify with. The plot was fantastic!! Edge of my seat loved it!! Read in one setting! I love the cover and had an "ah-ha" moment after I read the book! (Where the cover tied into the story!) This awesome action packed story gets a -5 star rating - and I BEG you not to miss this very well written, awesome series!!!
MusicInPrint 21 days ago
I read this Santero and Rein Thriller out of order. I am sure the first in this series would have been great to have under my belt but.. it stood alone nicely. Schaffer tells this crime story in a back and forth now and yesterday method. I am not a huge fan of these but as the narrative progresses it is clear why this works so well for some stories. Carrie Santero is a newly promoted Detective of the DA's Office of Vieira County Ohio. Seeming to have superior smarts compared to her colleagues does not stop the jealousy and put downs of her fellow law enforcement officers. LOVE THE COVER ART - it just sets the theme of this novel and its chilling flavor. Each page brings the reader into the GOOD and the BAD characters involved. "A copy of this book was provided by Kensington Books via NetGalley with no requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion." 3 likes
M3Block- 21 days ago
Carrie Santero and Jacob Rein are back in the second book of this wicked good series. A cold case from Jacob’s hometown leads Carrie into his past of small town dysfunction, a missing girl and two dead cops. This is a fast paced, heart pounding, keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time you’re reading kind of book. While it is book two, don’t be afraid to read it as a stand alone. But why would you? The Thief of all Light is also an amazing read.
CathyGeha 21 days ago
Carrie Santero, recently promoted to detective is still not considered “equal” by the men she works with. Many assume she is not really capable and has achieved her promotion based on something other than her competency. In this book we learn more about Carie, the little girl in her life and how she goes about solving cases. We also see Jacob Rein again a few times both in the present and in a story line that takes us back thirty years to when he was twelve and living in a very dysfunctional family situation. There are two criminal cases to be solved by Carrie in this book. One has to do with a rapist pulling women to the side of the road then violating them and the other crime is a missing person cold case that she picks up when the foot bones of a young girl are found in the forest. It is assumed the girl is Hope Pugh, missing thirty years, but then there is the mystery of how she died and what happened to her. Jacob Rein is a mysterious character that seems able to get into the minds of criminals in order to catch them. He has spent time in jail for something I have a feeling he has probably not done. In this book we learn more about his childhood, some of his childhood friends, a young girl that disappeared and of his father and uncle and their part in his life. At around forty-two years of age Jacob has a lot of years left to accomplish much so I am hoping he will get his life back on track so he can officially assist in finding more bad guys in the future. I was definitely taken back in time by mention of the Vietnam War in which Jacob’s father and uncle both served. That the two men came out so different at the end of their time in the service probably has to do with the jobs they held. I believe the two men cared for one another more than either told the other. Their part in this book was...very interesting. I came away from this book satisfied that the bad guys were eventually caught but still wanting to know more about Santero and Rein and that means I am eager to read more by this author as soon as a new book is available. I found myself thinking about how a person can be bigger than life to people in theirr community and yet in reality they are not heroes at all. This was a thought provoking book. It made me think of the cop that pulled me over and hinted at taking me on a date and of another in which my sister-in-law was pulled over by a policeman on her way to Wyoming...on a stretch where women were going missing...and when my brother woke in the back seat the policeman who pulled her over let them drive on. I know there will soon be another crime for Carrie and Jacob to work on and look forward to finding out what it will be. I am also eager to find out more about the backstories of both characters. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the ARC – This is my honest review. 5 Stars
MKF 21 days ago
Carrie Santero is an intelligent woman and a good cop. The last thing she expected when she took on a cold case is that it would open a box of worms about her mentor Jacob Rein. Those who read the first book (don't worry- this works as a standalone) know that Santero and Rein worked a case with a serial killer. We got a good sense of the relationship between the partners and about Carrie but not so much about Rein. This is his story in many ways. As before, Carrie has to deal with challenges with her recalcitrant colleagues and with Rein himself. What does the disappearance of a girl, the murder of a police officer, and the suicide of another thirty years ago have to do with events today? More than anyone, including Rein himself, thought. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. Less over the top than the last one (I appreciated that) and Schaffer's law enforcement background shines through.