A long weekend away for Piper Blackwell ends in tragedy as paintballing is replaced with a real shooter targeting her and her friends. Meanwhile, back in her home town, Chris Hagee is causing trouble but then apparently commits suicide but could it be murder…?
The Dead of Jerusalem Ridge has a slow start compared to the earlier books in the series and there are some spoilers so read The Dead of Winter, The Dead of Night and The Dead of Summer first (you won’t be disappointed, they are brilliant!).
The murder victim Chris has been a peripheral character in the last 3 books so his character arc has developed significantly compared to the convivial persona at the very beginning. The law enforcement team are working well together and learning from each other. We see a much softer side to Oren as his father is terminally ill which is emotional to read about. The very last line of the book had me punching the air in happiness. The characters in this series have such realism that I really found myself caring about them.
The gradual build up of the action allows us to see more of the characters as people rather than as the law. However, once the main plot kicks off, the pace is relentless. I enjoyed the tenacity of Piper as she fights her injuries to uncover the truth about the shooting of her friends, whilst the other officers are faced with interrogating suspects and searching for evidence to find the murderer.
Jean Rabe has such a fabulous style of writing. Her Piper Blackwell series is an absolute pleasure to read and each case is fascinating and will have your attention until the very last page. I cannot wait for the next book…
The Dead of Jerusalem Ridge book blurb:
Sheriff Piper Blackwell’s three-day vacation with old Army buddies ends in tragedy. At the same time, a vile hate crime along a county road enrages her department. Their forces divided, Piper and her deputies must solve both cases before tensions boil and threaten the rural fabric of Spencer County, Indiana. Only eight months on the job, the young sheriff must weave together clues to uncover both a killer and a secret that could scar her soul.
To her right she spotted an empty can, old and rusty, discarded a long while ago. Shame to leave trash in the woods. Just beyond it was a heel impression in the mud; the rain hadn’t quite taken it. Recent and deep, from a big man. Piper saw another print and crawled faster as she unslung the rifle, rose to her knees, and peered through a break in the ferns.
The creek was just past the tree line and down a short rise, a wide gray ribbon cut by rocks. Piper watched the rain attack its surface, spitting water back up, the near bank a smooth band of mud disturbed by fresh boot prints.
Her heart thumped. He had to be on the other side of the creek, probably hunkering down behind the foliage, waiting for her. The landscape was a smear of greens and browns shadowed by the dome of clouds and the storm. She couldn’t see him.
But if he was indeed on the other side, he’d see her if she broke for the creek.
Shit, she thought. No good option. No good way to circle around.
Piper could wait it out right here, a reasonable spot, concealed by tall sawgrass and trumpet honeysuckle. The rain swirled the colors, darkened what had started out as a bright day, made it difficult to peer through with all the water running in her eyes. I should’ve worn a hat, something with a brim, she thought. Should’ve taken that precaution. Maybe her quarry had a hat. At least the downpour kept her cool, gave her patience. If she was lucky her quarry wouldn’t be as patient. Maybe he’d—
A silhouette separated from the miasma of green on the other side of the creek. An expert shot, Piper could get him, but her maximum range was one hundred feet, and the target was beyond that. Too, the rain and wind would alter the trajectory.
She needed to be closer.
Piper’s index finger teased the trigger.
Her walkie-talkie crackled softly; she’d turned the volume down as low as it would go. A voice came through the earbud: “Christmas! What’s your position?”
She didn’t know her position, not exactly. The map in plastic was out of reach. The area was wholly unfamiliar to her.