JoDee Neathery is a firm believer that dreams do come true with the release of her debut novel, Life in a Box, in 2017 followed by her latest literary mystery, A Kind of Hush in July 2021. JoDee had aspirations of dancing on the Broadway stage but landed in the banking world before moving on to public relations executive recruiting for Dallas, Texas and New York agencies. Upon moving to East Texas she had many opportunities to write including handling publicity for a non-profit, writing a column for a local newspaper, and chairing and writing minutes and reviews for the community book club. "I've been involved in Bookers for eighteen years and it was these members who encouraged, prodded, and stood waving pom-poms at the finish line when the novels were published. They believed in me before I did and without them, I wouldn't be filling out this biography for one of the most storied review services in the country." The beginnings of novel number three, Dust in the Wind, are in the planning stages.
JoDee and her husband live near their only daughter, son-in-law, two teenage grandsons, a bird dog, four cats, a donkey, and a few head of cattle.
“This family drama is steeped in suspense, but its likable cast of characters is its main draw.”
– Kirkus Reviews
A family deals with grief after losing one of its members, but questions arise: Who did it, and why?
The Mackie clan is no stranger to loss. After the accidental, tragic death of their young son Griff, Summer and Matt try to move on for the sake of their living children, preteen Willa and 7-year-old Gabe. The family plans a relaxing trip to Zoar Valley Gorge near their hometown of Buffalo, New York. But when Matt, Willa, and Summer fall from a cliff, resulting in Summer’s death, it only leads to another terrible round of grieving. Summer’s sister, Starla, rushes in to help the family. The sheriff’s office suspects foul play. Witnesses noted a stranger yelling at the family before the fall, and young Gabe remembers hearing a clicking noise and seeing a man run past him. Deputy Sheriff Conner Boyle makes it his mission to find out the truth. Summer’s first marriage and her work as a sexual-assault forensics examiner lead to a number of possible suspects, including pedophile Victor Kurtz, who’s been stalking Willa. Victor begins a game of cat and mouse with the police, while the Mackie family takes a much-needed journey to Texas, where Matt’s parents live. There, the Mackies attempt to start over—but Victor keeps outwitting the authorities. Over the course of this book, Neathery immerses the reader in her world with lush metaphors and vivid descriptions of both the New York and Texas settings. The author ably helps the reader navigate the complexity of his characters’ interactions; there are fraught relationships, relationships rekindled, and new relationships formed. She’s particularly deft at capturing the conflicting, layered emotions of grief and heartache while simultaneously weaving a fast-paced mystery into this narrative fabric. At times, the language feels a bit heavy-handed (“Just after midnight, when the air was thick and cloaked in a murky brume…”), but readers will always find themselves rooting for the Mackie family members as they seek happiness.
This family drama is steeped in suspense, but its likable cast of characters is its main draw.
Pub Date: July 14, 2021
Page count: 340pp
Publisher: Imagery Lit
Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2021
Favorite line from a book
“I could bear the memory, but I could not bear the music that made the memory such a killing thing.”
Passion in life
When a reader lives in the shoes of a character instead of just reading about the character, I feel a sense of accomplishment that brings a broad smile to my face.
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