Small-town politics run amok, with deadly results, in Leymaster’s debut thriller.
The lights in Aldenborough, Mass., are out. This time it’s not due to extreme weather conditions; instead, it looks like an explosion has wreaked havoc on an electrical substation. Even more troubling is the fact that the light-department manager has been found dead at the scene. The incident doesn’t make things any easier for department head Abigail Pickering, who often clashes with the Aldenborough boys’-club political system. Police Chief Margaret James, however, is an ally in her struggle, and when more dead bodies start to appear, they realize that the deaths might be linked. Meanwhile, the town’s selectmen scheme to oust Abby from her position in order to replace her with someone who will play the game by their rules. As Hurricane Gabriel heads directly for the town, Abby must find the best way to keep Aldenborough illuminated while battling a dirty political agenda. Leymaster competently develops her main characters, particularly Abby, but there are so many secondary and tertiary characters, apparently to illustrate the confounding nature of the town’s politics, that some readers may find it a challenge to keep track of everyone. The story has three distinct plotlines—the murders, a pornography and molestation scandal, and the struggle over the governance of the light department—which all culminate in a satisfying, surprising twist. Readers’ enjoyment of the final revelation may be somewhat diminished by the book’s strangely truncated ending. There are also some grammar and punctuation errors that sometimes affect readability. However, readers may overlook these flaws due to Leymaster’s skillful depiction of political intrigue in a parochial town, which imbues the story with an element of authenticity. Overall, Leymaster will likely earn new fans for this likable examination of a political microcosm.
An uneven but often enjoyable thriller.