Terry Shames knows there's crime in small communities, just as there is in large cities. And, she's not afraid to talk about the cruelty and victimization that goes on in a small town. A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge, her latest mystery featuring Samuel Craddock, exposes more than one secret in Jarrett Creek, Texas.
Despite retirement, Craddock is still the Acting Police Chief because Jarrett Creek went bankrupt, and couldn't afford to hire anyone. He stays up-to-date with the day-to-day developments in town, but his own neighbor and friend, lawyer Jenny Sandstone, is a private person. When Jenny's mother, Vera, has a stroke, and warns Craddock that her daughter may be in danger, he's concerned, but doesn't want to bother Jenny. However, when one accident after another happens, culminating in a car forcing Jenny off the road, Craddock knows it's time to look at Jenny's problems as a police officer, not just a friend. Samuel uncovers threats from Jenny's past as a lawyer, but also secrets in the Sandstone family, secrets that Jenny's mother might have hidden.
While Craddock seems preoccupied with Jenny's issues, he is still working with his team and the community. He has to handle problems with the town, the high school, and the prom, as well as one woman's angry ex-husband. It's always a juggling act with a small-town police force, as they try to keep everyone happy.
As always, Shames successfully juggles the other police troubles with the major one that preoccupies Samuel Craddock. In A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge, Shames focuses on family issues, everything from helicopter parents to father and son troublemakers to family sins that continue to have repercussions years later. It takes a wise police chief to understand families, people's behavior, and how that behavior can affect a community. With Samuel Craddock, Shames has created an observant man who understands mistakes. He brings his experience in Jarrett Creek, and his experiences as a human being who has suffered, and lived a life that wasn't always easy, to his job as police chief. Samuel Craddock is a character that brings readers back to to Jarrett Creek, Texas, time after time. When Samuel Craddock unravels a mystery, or uncovers A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge, readers see through Craddock's eyes. Through them, the relationships that lead to crime in any community are revealed.
Satisfying, sympathetic, a gentle hand. All of those qualities evoke Terry Shames' Samuel Craddock mysteries.
Terry Shames' website is www.terryshames.com
A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge by Terry Shames. Seventh Street Books. 2015. ISBN 9781633880467 (paperback), 271p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.