Poisoned Ground-Sandra Parshall

Poisoned Ground
Sandra Parshall
Poisoned Pen, Mar 4 2014, $24.95
ISBN: 9781464202247

Residents of Mason County, Virginia are divided between development of a resort and traditional use of the land. Those supporting the developers see a chance to make a lot of easy money by selling their property and argue for the influx of needed jobs; those opposed see urbanization’s crime and pollution destroy their pristine landscape and the minimum wage jobs fail to take care of a family.

Veterinarian Rachel Goddard tries to keep her opinion to herself since her husband Tom Bridger must remain neutral as the sheriff. However, the dispute turns lethal when someone murders Lincoln and Marie Kelly for no apparent reason except that they refused to sell. Complicating the double homicides are the adult children as the debt-ridden son is irate that his sister inherited most of the estate. Deal critic Joanna McKendrick finds her barn burned to the ground and others opposed to the development live in fear they will be next. As Tom leads the investigation, he and his staff try to get the angry adversaries to calm down while Rachel already disgusted with the attitudes of the developers personalizes the situation when her family is threatened.

The latest Rachel Goddard mystery (see Under the Dog Star and Bleeding Through) is a superb taut thriller with a deep focus on a fuming and frightened split populace fussing and fighting over land use. With a fabulous late twist adding topping to this timely (Keystone comes to mind) strong storyline, readers will appreciate Sandra Parshall’s puissant Poisoned Ground.

Harriet Klausner

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