Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sleep Softly- Gwen Hunter

Sleep Softly
Gwen Hunter
Mira, Feb 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780778324646

ER Nurse Ashlee Davenport Chadwick either makes or finds a home on her family farm for retired K-9 dogs. Currently besides her college student daughter Jas, Big Dog, Cheeks, and Cherry live with her. They bring to her a smelly child's red sneaker, which she is about to toss in a game of fetch only she knows the odor reeks of “old death”. She looks inside and sees tissue. Although she knows it is dumb, she labels and protects the “evidence” as she has learned in her forensic courses. Hesitant as she does not want her peers at Dawkins County Rescue Squad nicknaming her, she still calls the Sheriff’s Department. Afterward Cheeks, an experienced tracker dog, takes her to the sight where she finds a toe.

Over the objection of the locals, Ashlee’s boyfriend, FBI Violent Crime Squad Coordinator Jim Ramsey of the nearby Columbia office, leads the investigation. He is already looking into a serial killer whose victims are young girls, which probably means Cheeks’ find fits his case. Soon they discover several young buried on or just off Chadwick land; making the family including Ashlee the prime suspect.

SLEEP SOFTLY is a tense exciting police procedural that readers will devour in one sitting. The story line is fast-paced especially when the culprit targets the heroine. The romance is kept somewhat on the back burner so that subplot does not intrude on an engaging whodunit. Mostly told from Ashlee's perspective, sub-genre readers will enjoy this suspenseful thriller.

Harriet Klausner