Ties That Bind
Natalie R. Collins
St. Martin’s Griffin, Jul 31 2012, $7.99
In Kanesville, Utah, the Stake President Mark Malone finds his seventeen year old son Jeremiah hung himself using a tie. KPD Detective Samantha Montgomery becomes angry and frustrated when a peer at the death scene tampered with the evidence by removing the tie. Her boss Chief Roberson tells Sam to make the inquiry fast as he believes Jeremiah committed suicide. Sam feels the death is too similar to recent suicides by two girls Jeremiah’s age; she wonders if a serial killer stalks Kanesville.
Seminary principal and Sam’s high school sweetheart Pail Carlson shows his office computer screen to the police; someone with access to the seminary typed in “Vengeance”, which changes the cause for the three teen deaths from self-inflicted to murder. Salt Lake City Police Detective Gage Flint arrives to help on the investigation over the objection of Sam who blames him, her former lover, for her having to leave SLCPD. As they investigate, Vengeance watches Sam closely as she may be next.
Natalie R. Collins latest Mormon Church mystery (see Latter Day Saints, SisterWife and Wives And Sisters) is an exciting police procedural serial killer thriller. The engaging whodunit shines a light on the closed abusive patriarchal society especially in an insular small-town (one near Salt Lake City) in which a dark soul rationalizes his actions by claiming he is God’s Vengeance against sinners; though one must wonder why he waited to attack Sam who disavowed any connection to the Church. Although Sam can be too angry, fans will understand why with her older sister dead but still inside her head, her dad condemning her wicked ways and her mom a vegetable.