Wednesday, July 24, 2019

An Unsettled Grave by Bernard Schaffer

Some of the comments I saw online said you could read this book without having read the first in the series, Bernard Schaffer's The Thief of All Light. I disagree. I enjoyed An Unsettled Grave, but I wish I had more background about Detective Carrie Santero, and her mentor, Jacob Rein.

Santero is the first female police detective, and the youngest and most inexperienced one on the Vieira County, Pennsylvania, team. And her boss isn't really happy to have her there. When she interviews a rape victim who claims it was a police officer who accosted her, Carrie doesn't handle it well with the male officers. So, she's sent someplace where she might not get into trouble, western Pennsylvania where bones have been discovered in the woods, a small human foot. Although the local police chief believes it's the body of Hope Pugh who disappeared thirty years earlier, he also thinks Hope ran away. Carrie believes otherwise, and, with the advice of her mentor, she does some tests.

Jacob Rein won't tell Carrie why he won't get involved in the case. But, he was a childhood friend of the girl who went missing. And, his uncle was the police chief who handled the initial investigation all those years ago. The story of the Reins is so deeply entrenched with the story of that community that Jacob knows he shouldn't actively investigate.

In alternating sections, Schaffer takes the readers back to the time when Jacob was a young J.D. Rein and Hope Pugh was still alive. Although some of the middle dragged a little, Schaffer, a former police officer, is skilled at drawing on the emotions and procedures of the police. The stories and reports that came out of that nightmarish week were not accurate. It's up to Carrie Santero to find the truth all these years later.

Yes, we do learn about Rein's childhood, but I still felt as if there was something missing in this book. There was no connection made in this book to tell why he was a mentor to Carrie Santero. An Unsettled Grave is an interesting police procedural. However, if you read for character, start with the first in the series.

Bernard Schaffer's website is

An Unsettled Grave by Bernard Schaffer. Kensington Books, 2019. ISBN 9781496717252 (hardcover), 288p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


Gram said...

Thanks, I pu The Thief og all Light on my library someday list.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Gram!

Militarymom98 said...

Have you read the first book The Thief of All Light?

Lesa said...

I have not read the first book. That's what happens when I review for a journal, and they send me books. I review what they send me, and don't have the opportunity to go back first and read earlier ones. I'm sure anyone who read the first book will appreciate this one more than I did.