In this first mystery in a series, small-town sheriff must catch a serial killer who murders young brunette women.
Samantha Tate is the sheriff of Pickett County, Tennessee. Two years have passed since the death of resident Claire Hooper, the last victim of the so-called “Wedding Crasher,” who killed four young women with brown hair who were about to be married—one each April, for four years. Sam had hoped that the Wedding Crasher’s killings were at an end, but then, one spring morning, Elizabeth “Bitsy” Newsome, a real estate agent based in Nashville, is found murdered in a sacrificial manner near oak trees, like the other victims. Sam thinks that the Wedding Crasher may be a local resident. After the death of a Byrdstown high school student, who seems to be a victim of the same killer, local pressure further builds to solve the crime. Sam becomes more determined than ever to bring the perpetrator to justice. As she investigates, she must also contend with her chronic nightmares stemming from a traumatic childhood and the death of her fiance. Stern (The Former Assassin, 2017, etc.) weaves a suspenseful and intriguing story, and surprising revelations will keep readers guessing about the murderer’s identity. Sam’s own background is rich with ambiguity, and the book’s conclusion will leave readers wondering about the implications of the sheriff’s tragic past—and will undoubtedly leave them wanting more mysteries starring Sam, who proves to be a strong but unassuming protagonist. Stern repeatedly upends readers’ assumptions about key suspects, leading to an unexpected revelation about the perpetrator’s motives. Overall, the book will be ideal for readers looking for an easygoing, plot-driven whodunit.
An absorbing and surprising mystery tale.