Bantam, Jan 2010, $25.00
Six years ago, everyone believed Randy Dodd died because there was plenty of evidence backing that belief. It also was assumed that Randy killed his wife Cornelia. His brother Roger, who was married to Cornelia’s sister, lost his spouse in an accident so he grieves all the tragedies that has hammered at his soul. Nothing altered these convictions until true crime writer Carolyn Rathbone and her assistant Chip Hahn arrive in Eastport, Maine to research the tragedy of the Lang sisters for a book she is writing.
Carolyn and Chip believe Randy is alive and is responsible for the deaths of both sisters as he wanted their inheritance. Randy is in town to access the money, but first kidnaps Carolyn with the intent to kill her because he simply enjoys murdering women.
Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree awakens to the realism her son Sam failed to come home last night and later discovers he was seen and recognized Randy. Sam is also the killer’s prisoner. Jake is determined to find out where Randy hides and rescue the writer and her offspring. With help from her step-brother, her best friend, her housekeeper and Chip, Jake begins her search. A clue from Roger assists them, but they remain ignorant that they are entering a trap until it is sprung.
Crawlspace is much more violent than the usual Home Repair amateur sleuth tales due to the predator; rather than a cozy this tale is more a suspense thriller. Readers ironically know Randy lives from the onset when the residents of Eastport sleep serenely at night because they believe he is dead. The story line is terrific with a great finish that will stun the audience used to amateur sleuth superheroes as fans will salute Sarah Graves with a strong grim entry.